Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Elyse. Elyse Wonders, “`Who came up with social media? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Elyse!

Do you watch stories on Instagram? Do you tweet about your thoughts? Many people share blog posts on Tumblr or play with filters on Snapchat. Others find friends on Facebook. Social media sites are everywhere today. Have you ever WONDERed how social media started?

What pops into your head when you hear “social media”? Many people’s minds immediately go to Facebook. Facebook is a social media giant, but it wasn’t the first one. The first social media site was Six Degrees, made by Andrew Weinreich in 1997. Six Degrees was pretty popular with users until 2003. That’s when Tom Anderson made MySpace. This new site let users make profiles that played their favorite music. They could even design their own backgrounds. MySpace quickly became the most used social media site in the world.

Then, Facebook changed everything. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook when he was a sophomore at Harvard in 2004. It went public in 2006, and people flocked to the site. Over the years, Facebook did a lot to stay on top. It watched its competitors and added their most popular traits to its own site. Facebook added hashtags to keep up with Twitter. Later, it added stories to compete with Snapchat. Today, Facebook is the world’s biggest social media site. It has 2.32 billion monthly users.  

When Instagram went live in 2010, Facebook knew it had a tough competitor. Instagram is a much more visual place than Facebook. This quickly made it attractive to younger users. On Instagram, users can add filters to their photos and watch each others' daily stories. When Facebook bought Instagram in 2011, it further cemented its place in the social media world. In 2018, Instagram had one billion users. Many think the site will one day be bigger than Facebook.

In Wonderopolis, we use social media pretty often! We tweet out Wonders of the Day and talk with our friends on Facebook. We even follow WONDERful classrooms on Instagram! However, we also know to limit the time we spend on social media. Some studies have found that social media users are less happy and more anxious than others. Social media has also been blamed for spreading misinformation. It’s a great tool for staying connected, but should be used carefully.

It’s always important to stay safe online. This is especially true on social media, where you may encounter people you don’t know. There are plenty of ways to stay safe. First, never share your passwords with others. Second, don’t talk to strangers. Even if someone says they know your friends or family, don’t talk to people you don’t know. Finally, don’t give out your personal information. Sharing things like your phone number or address can put you in danger.

How do you like to connect with your friends? Have you ever written a friend a letter? Do you talk on the phone? People have always enjoyed connecting with friends and family. Today, we use our most powerful tool — the Internet — to do so. What will be the next big social media site? Will Facebook stay on top, or will Instagram catch up? What do you think?

Standards: C3.D2.His.3, C3.D2.His.5, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.SL.1

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