Social media sites rose with popularity in the early 2000s with the increase in accessibility to computers and the internet. Social media sites can be defined as community sites where users can share anything from links, photos, personal thoughts or their current activities.
Social media sites began primarily with simple profiles and the ability to characterise your own page for 'friends' to view. From here, instant messaging and the listing of friends meant that individuals were granted an online experience unlike ever seen before.
In 2004, Facebook was launched in The United States as a site to link students at Harvard. From here Facebook grew to connect individuals internationally to become the most used social network site with over 955 million users world wide (as of June 2012).
What set Facebook apart from rivals such as MySpace, Bebo and Friendster is the ability to connect, chat, share and game all on one site. To use Facebook, users must register, create a personal profile and connect to friends. From here users can exchange messages, post statuses, links and blogs, or upload photos and videos. In the last few years, Facebook has also included the ability to play games against fellow friends, subscribe to updates from "close friends" and celebrities, and keep in touch through a live stream of friends' activities.
The development of Facebook has been drastic between 2005 and today in 2012. While previously, Facebook was used primarily for communication, Facebook is now a way to describe the person you are, or if you don't fit the norm, to describe the person you aspire to be.
(To see a full history of social networking cites, please click here)