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Visualize Your Social Media

Jason Holland, Interactive Graphic Designer

Welcome to 2012. As social media evolves, it's very quickly becoming an increasingly visual medium. More and more, social media sites and apps aggregate content through clear, clutter-free visuals, and that content itself is more frequently pictures and videos instead of text. Below are three apps that are gaining serious momentum this year and changing the way we interact with social media. Now you can interact with your content through images and videos in magazine-style layouts that easily allow you to browse and share content unlike any way previously.

Pinterest lets you organize and share content though beautiful images found online. Using pinboards, users can do things like plan weddings, decorate homes, and organize favorite recipes. In addition, users can browse the pinboards of other people. Browsing visual pinboards is an easy way to discover things. Currently, membership is limited by invite request. Members can also pin and browse pinboards with apps for the iPad and iPhone.

Named Apple’s iPad App of the year, Flipboards creates a personalized magazine out of everything that's shared with you. You can flip through your Facebook news feed, Twitter timeline and more. The elegant layout also allows you to follow niche blogs, popular publications, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr and more. Flipboard can be an all-in-one place to enjoy, browse, share and comment on news, photos and updates.

While there are several video aggregator apps, Frequency allows you to not only aggregate popular content across the web but also from your social sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can choose websites (aka channels) that you want to follow, like National Geographic, Gizmodo, Forbes, Food Network and more. In addition, Frequency allows the option to follow trends on Twitter. In addition, Frequency has an app for iPhone and iPad.

A Brief History of Social Media

1971 - First email sent. Two computer sitting side by side send messages to each other.

1978 - First bulletin board system. Exchange data over phone lines with other users.

1994 - First social network, GeoCities, is founded. Essentially an organization for like-minded user-created home pages in different topical communities like sports, entertainment and tech.

1995 - gave users the freedom to personalize their online experience by publishing their own content and interacting with other similar interests. It served as a poster child of the rapid success, and even more rapid fall of the dotcom boom.

1997 - AOL launches Instant Messenger (AIM). AIM was the first computer software to allow users to communicate in real time, and became wildly popular.

1997 - launches. Users could send bulletin board items to people in their first, second and third degrees, and see their connection to any other user on the site. It was one of the first manifestations of social networking sites in the format we now see today.

2002 - Friendster was launched, pioneering the online connection of real-world friends. It was one of the first sites that allowed users to contact other members, maintain those contacts and share content with them. Today, Friendster is a social gaming site based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2003 - Myspace launched. Until 2008, Myspace was the most visited social network site in the world. Besides the rise of Facebook and Twitter, one claim attributed to the decline of Myspace is that it failed to innovate, instead clinging to a “portal strategy” of building an audience around entertainment and music.

2004 - Facebook is launched, originally intended as a way to connect U.S. college students, Facebook now boasts over 600 million users.

2006 - Twitter launched, ushering the world of microblogging by enabling its users to send and read text-based posts up to 140 characters, known as tweets. Today, Twitter also allows users to attach photos to their tweets.

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