Top 10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media History Over the Last 20 Years

Do you remember your first social media profile? Or, how about your first social media post?

My first profile was on Myspace, my first friend was Tom from Myspace, and my first post was something like, Myspace is awesome!

The rest is history.

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come.How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems!

In light of#SMDay (6/30/2017), we’re teaming up with Bitlyto share stories and celebrate the positive impact that social media has had on individuals, businesses, and the globe over the last 20 glorious years all using the hashtag #impactofsocial. Check out the details at the bottom of this post about how you can join in on the fun!

Here’s a look at 10 powerfulmoments that shaped the social media history.

Let’s dive in!

10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media Over the Last 20 Years

Top 10 powerfulmoments that shaped social media history

There have been so many wonderful moments over the last 20 years on social media that it was quite a challenge to boil them down to just 10! But since we’re celebrating thepositive impact of social mediaon people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history.

Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history!

Let’s count down to the top moment in the social media history!

10. The Birth of Facebook

Facebook, the social media network that has an incredible two billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the earth’s population), is the only network that I’ll mention in this post for moments-sake. Given its sheer size, the impact it has made on families, friends, businesses, and world events, I felt as though I might be remiss without a mention of Facebook somewhere!

It’s amazing to imagine what the world might be like if Facebook had never captured the hearts and minds of so many people the way it did. One of my favorite Facebook moments, in particular, is during an early 2004 interview on CNBC with Mark Zuckerberg:

The anchor asks: Now there’s a new form of cyber match-making, college networking websites. Is this perhaps thenext big thing? The Facebook. Mark, if someone was to put the question to you about the magnitude of what you’ve launched; how big do you think your product or service is?

We all know the rest!

A short six years after this interview (2010), Zuckerberg would go on to become Time’s Person of the Year along with many other accolades along the way. Facebook has changed the way we interact and communicate on all levels and only time will tell if another network will come along and take its place in social media history.

9. Miracle on the Hudson

It was January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York and struck a flock of birds on the way up. Moments later, both engines were lost and Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger, along with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were asked to pull off the miraculous landing.

When the plane finally landed safely in the frigid Hudson River waters, all 155 passengers on board were safe. The Miracle on the Hudson has been called the most successful ditching in aviation history.

But something else happened that day Jeff Krums tweeted:


Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBCin 2013 how that changed Twitter and the way people get news.

It changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news-and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.

One small tweet began the Twitter revolution. Hundreds of millions of people now turn to Twitter as a source of news, a place to build a following, a place to share your stories and connect with others.

Twitter is also the platform that our co-founder, Joel Gascoigne, successfullybuilt Buffer on back in 2010! This powerful moment in social media history has a special place in our hearts.

8. Going Viral

How many of you have sat around with friends or family and binge-watched several classicYouTubevideos in a row? I know I have!

What is now one of the largest social media networkson the planet (more than 1.5 billion peoplelog in every month), started with a few viral hits and began a trend that today we might call, going viral. This launchedYouTube into a massive entertainment hub complete with TV streaming, movies, music videos, tutorials, celebrities, vloggers, and of course, viral videos.

Let’s take a look at three early videos that helped to shape the viral side of social media history:

Charlie Bit My Finger (Published: 5/22/2007 851,140,074 views)

Chocolate Rain (Published: 4/22/2007 113,787,749 views)

Numa Numa (Published: 12/11/2006 26,800,130 views)

Honorable Mention: Lazy Sunday

In December of 2005, the first viral video appeared online under the name Lazy Sunday. It was the second-ever SNL Digital Short aired and featured cast members, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Following its appearance on SNL, the video appeared on YouTube and was viewed more than five million times until February 2006 when NBC Universal asked the site to remove it.

7.Ellen’s Selfie (and #NuggsForCarter)

Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that took the social media world by storm is the epitome of everything that is awesome about social media.


First, it is the fact that this photo is in selfie form which has come to be a staple of how photos are taken and shared across social media platforms. Two, it shows just how light-hearted, yet powerful social media can be. A smiling group of beloved actors, actresses, and performers has the ability to touch the lives of the more than 3,400,000 people who retweeted it and the millions more that saw it. For more than three years, Ellen’s selfie held the title of themost retweeted tweet of all time.

That was until Nevada teenager Carter Wilkerson’s plea for free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s went viral.


The world watched as #NuggsForCarter swept Twitter like wildfire eventually passing Ellen’s selfie as the most retweeted tweet of all time. And although the #NuggsForCarter tweet never quite reached 18 million, Wendy’s still awarded Carter free nuggets for a year anyways. A win-win!

In my experience, we as social media managers tend to take social media very seriously. But if we can learn anything from Ellen’s selfie and #NuggsForCarter, it’s that social media is meant to be a fun and sprightly place for people to share stories, connect, and be themselves.

If you’d like to hear more about the Nuggs Guy and how entrepreneurs and small businesses use social media, check out episode #47 of The Science of Social Media where we chat with Paul Jarvis.

6.NASA’s #YearInSpace

Named one of the most influential social media campaigns of 2016 (and maybe of all time), NASA’s #AYearInSpace demonstrates the wildly powerful ability of social media to document the human condition.


What made the mission so unique is that NASAAstronaut Scott Kellyhas an identical twin brother he was to be compared with (physically) upon his return in hopes to uncover what happens to the human body after long exposures in space.

Astronaut Kelly tweeted continuously using the hashtag #YearInSpace, which was followed closely by millions of intrigued spectators. While tumbling around in zero gravity aboard the ISS, he even hosted an AMA session on Reddit!

This was a powerful moment in the social media history because we were able to experience space first-hand from the comfort of our own homes. People from all over the world chimed in using #YearInSpace to express their support, marvel in the wonder of the cosmos, and share an interconnectedness of human activity.

5.ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wonderful testament to the power of social media to make a charitable impact on an important cause. Since 2014, largely due to social media, the ALS Association has raised more than $115 millionfor research towards Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, including celebrities like President Obama, LeBron James, Lady Gaga, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates. Within the first 15 days of the campaign taking off, the ALS Association had received $15 million in donations from 307,600 new, first-time donors.

What followed was an interesting study into viral content and how organizations might be able to repeat this virality in the future. And while no definite conclusion was made from Facebook’s study and visualization, many attribute the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge success to former Boston College baseball player, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 (helping to explain the concentration).

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Graph

The Ice Bucket Challenge can help to act as a guide or blueprint for achieving viral success via social media. As TechCrunch author, Sarah Perez writes, Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose and you have a recipe for success.


Over the past several years, social media has become an important communication tool for political groups and social movements to organize and take action. One of those social movements, #BlackLivesMatter, has become one of the largest in the social media history. Used more than 12 million times, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is the third most-used Twitter hashtag around a social cause.

Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter Hashtag

#BlackLivesMatter is an incredibly powerful example of how a social media hashtag can ignite action in the real world and be tied directly to a major movement. The implications for something like this are huge considering that we are all only becoming more digitally connected by the day.

Aquote from Bijan Stephen in WIREDhelps to sum it up perfectly:

In the 1960s, if you were a civil rights worker and you needed to get some urgent news out to the rest of the world, you would likely head straight for a telephone. If you’re a civil rights activist in 2015 and you need to get some news out, your first move is to choose a social media platform.

3. Arab Spring

I’ll never forget the digital marketing course I took in college that examined social media’s impact on the Arab Spring. It was then, back in 2011 as a student, that I realized the true power and potential implications of social media. Up until that point, I thought social media was only for sharing pictures with friends and family!

There has since been a strong debate over the role and influence that social media played in the Arab Spring. Researchers at the University of Washingtonexamined more than three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content, and thousands of blog posts and found that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring Map Overview

Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising, said Philip Howard, project lead and professor at the University of Washington. People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.

2. Community Support during World Tragedies

Social media can mean the difference between a few minutes or even a few seconds, and in unforeseen often-desperate situations, a few seconds can mean the world.

Moments after the tragic events in Brussels, friends and family members turned to Facebook and Twitter for information regarding anyone they might have known to be involved.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, one-quarter of Americans looked to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for information, according to The Pew Research Center. Boston community membersoffered complete strangers a warm bed, food, and a shower when roads and hotels were closed (via a simpleGoogle Doc).

Boston Marathon Google Doc

Social media also provides essential communication channelsafterthese tragic events. Thinking back to Paris in 2015, social media helped to give many people a feeling of comfort, of solidarity, and of solace knowing that they would not have to face this alone. It acted as a support system even though we were all thousands of miles apart.

1. Natural Disaster Relief

One of the biggest strengths of social media is the speed at which it can disseminate important information to a large number of people in a very short amount of time. For example, after a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, non-profits and relief groups used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and support the community in various ways.

According to a CNN report, social media Twitter specifically became a pivotal tool in the fundraising efforts that raised millions of dollars in aid for the country. By the end of the week, the use of social media helped to raise more than $8 million in relief.

Haiti Earthquake 2010

Photo: Yale Economic Review

Haiti is just one of many cases where social media played an integral role in disaster relief. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2011), Hurricane Irene (2011), Superstorm Sandy (2012), and the earthquake in Nepal (2015) are examples of the power of instant communication. During Sandy, 10,000 Instagram photos (#sandy) were uploaded per second, many complete with geo-tagged locations!

Social media provides real-time, first-person information so that people and organizations can make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts. A critical piece in ensuring that relief is provided where and when it is needed most.

Over to you

It’s quite hard to fathom that social media is only 20 years youngand that the majority of growth and innovation has happened over the last few years.It’s even harder to believe that we’ve likely only just begun! As theworld population continues to increase, communities become more connected, and theinternet becomes available for more and more cities around the world, we will undoubtedly witness a deeper integration of social media into our everyday lives.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of amazing moments throughout social media history. And so it’s up to all of us to celebrate its positive impact on our lives whenever we can. Let’s encourage each other to not take this incredible tool for granted!

Here’s to 20 more years of powerful, wonderful, and world-changing social media history (and beyond!)

Feeling inspired? We’d love for you to share your story!

How has social media positively impacted you? On June 30th (#SMDay) and throughout the weekend, share your social media story with us using the hashtag #impactofsocial! We’ll be retweeting some of our favorites and picking a few winners to receive some special Buffer swag. We’re also hosting five exclusiveFacebook Live chats throughout the day, check out the awesome schedule we have planned below!

Facebook Live #impactofsocial schedule (Tune in Here!)


Here’s how much money you need to save to retire on a beach and play golf all day by age 40

young guy jumping beachFlickr/lorilove

Retiring early depends on one essential variable: your lifestyle.

How much you spend today – and how much you expect to spend in retirement – dictates how much you need to save before you can live your best life on a beach or golf course somewhere far away from theoffice.

Whether your dream is to retire in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, there are plenty of successful examples for you to follow. But anyone who has managed to retire early knows the magic formula means having enough saved up so that you can live off your investment returns each year, without actually touching your savings.

There’s a simple wayto calculate how much you’ll need to have saved up before you can retire. Take your desired annual retirement income, and divide it by 4% (the maximum amount you will withdraw from your savings each year to pay for your living expenses in retirement).

For example:

  • $50,000 4% = $1,250,000
  • $60,000 4% = $1,500,000
  • $100,000 4% = $2,500,000

Then, you have an idea of how much money you need to save to create enough returns to finance your retirement lifestyle. To live on $50,000 a year,you can see, you’d need savings of $1.25 million. Take a look at the chart below to see how much you need for retirement income ranging from $40,000 a year to $250,000 a year.

amount needed to save for retirement based on desired incomeBusiness Insider/Andy Kiersz

One caveat: The 4% withdrawal strategy only works if you are able to earn at least a 5% return (after taxes and inflation) onyour retirement savings. Keeping all your savings in cash won’t do the trick.

Once you know your magic number, you can leave work as soon as you reach it. If you know you’ll need $80,000 a year inretirement, then you can call it quits the dayyour account balance hits $2 million. Even if you’re only 28.

When determining your magic retirement number, be honest with yourself. If you make $100,000 today and spend all of your take-home pay, you aren’t likely to be able to live happily on $50,000 a year in retirement.

To get to your goal, saving sporadicallysimply won’t cut it. Even saving 10% per year consistently during your career means you’ll have to work nearly 52 years before you can afford to maintain your lifestyle in retirement. If you’re 22 today, that means getting a paycheck until you’re in your 70s. If you only save 6% – the average savings rate in the US – you’ll have to put in 62 years before you’ll have enough saved to match your current income in retirement.

You probably already know that theearlier you start, the more you can take advantage of investment growth (and the less you will have to save out of pocket). But no matter how old you are today, you can always write – or rewrite – your own journey to early retirement story.

Achieve that goal, and then you can turn your attention to perfecting your tan and your golf swing.

NOW WATCH: These are the best and worst places to retire in the US

A NASA rocket blasted colorful clouds into space – here’s what they looked like

NASA clouds tracer vapor wallopsNASA Wallops

  • NASA launched a rocket that created colorful clouds in space on June 29.
  • Such clouds are beingused to probe two big holes in Earth’s magnetic shield, called cusps.
  • NASA Wallops Flight Facility released a time-lapse video of the vapor puffs.

For the last month, NASA had been waiting for the right moment to launch clouds of red and blue-green vapor out into space.

On June 29, that momentfinally came. A NASA sounding rocket launched at 4:25 a.m. EST from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, and shotout10 canisters about the size of a soda can, according to the agency.

The cansdeployed blue-green and red vapor, which brightly colored puffs of “tracer vapors“that were seen from New York to North Carolina.These clouds allow scientists on the ground to visually track how and where particles move in space.

Here’s what the clouds looked like:

Youtube Embed:

Width: 640px

Height: 360px

The rocket was originally supposed to launch on May 31, but poor visibility and bad weather conditions delayed the mission a number of times. Thesespace cloudsweren’t merely for show, however.

The experiment wasone of many missions in an international “Grand Challenge” initiative aimed at helping scientists probe two gaping holes in Earth’s protective magnetic shield, called cusps.

The two holes in our invisible shield leak nearly 100 tons of air per day, according to Astronomy Now.

Probing Earth’s leaky atmosphere

The magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet is vital to life, since it deflects the sun’s constant wind of high-energy particles – and protects against the occasional solar storm. Without this invisible force field, Earth may have gone the way of Mars, which lost its magnetic dynamo billions of years ago. That allowed the sun to blow most of the Martian atmosphere into deep space, turning a once wet and potentially habitable world into a dry and nearly airless global desert.

sounding rocket terrier improved malmute nasaNASAWe won’t run out of air anytime soon (thankfully, our planet has quadrillions of tons left), but scientists are still struggling to understand how the cusps work. In particular, they want to make them visible – which is where the colored clouds cameinto play.

Launching tracer vapors such as barium (green), cupric-oxide (blue-green), and strontium (red) into the Earth’s ionosphere – where charged air particles and the solar wind interact -helpsscientists see how particlesmove thatthe region. This data could then help verify and update computer models of the fringes of Earth’s atmosphere.

Those models, in turn, may help researchers better understand all sorts of high-altitude phenomena, including auroras, geomagnetic storms – and why a planet like Mars lost all its air while ours has held on to its atmosphere.

Launching space clouds

Keith Koehler, a NASA Wallops spokesperson,said that nearly all past tracer-vapor missions, except for a few recent test launches, have spewedthe vapors directly out of the rocket body. But thathas limited the data that scientists can collect from the ground, sincethe colored clouds woundupclose together and were often hard to distinguish.

The newlaunch used new method: The rocket shot lightweight aluminum canisters, called ampules, out of itssides. The canisters traveled 6 to 12 miles before they started releasing vapor, which madethe constellation of colored clouds easierto distinguish and follow.

ampules tracer vapor space clouds sounding rocket experiment nasaNASA/Berit Bland

The chemical tracer clouds are designed toreact to sunlight. The launch therefore happened when it was still dark on the ground but the sun wasvisible from space to maximize their visibility.

“These launches have to occur just after sunset or right before sunrise. You need sunlight to hit the vapors and activate them as they’re released,” Koehler said, adding that these vapors should not be confused with the Aurora Borealisthat’s typically seen in far northern regions of the world.

“Auroras dance across the sky, and this is not that,” he said.

NOW WATCH: Antarctica’s sky just lit up with electric-blue clouds – here’s why

The Complete Guide to Using Stock Photos in Your Marketing

When you hear the term ‘stock photo’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

My hunch is it’s probably a photo of a group of friends awkwardly laughing, business people staring at charts on a wall, or something along those lines.

Probably not the best connotations, right?

Used correctly, though, free stock photos can really bring your ads, blog posts, and content to life.

And at Buffer, we use stock photos daily.

Here’s why:

Venezuela’s president claims terrorists used a helicopter to attack the Supreme Court

Venezuela Supreme CourtCarlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

CARACAS (Reuters) – A Venezuelan police helicopter attacked the Supreme Court on Tuesday, ratcheting up a political crisis in what President Nicolas Maduro condemned as a “terrorist” attack.

The 54-year-old socialist leader, who has faced three months of opposition protests as well as dissent from within government, said the helicopter shot at the judicial building and also threw some grenades.

Witnesses reported hearing several detonations in downtown Caracas, where the pro-Maduro Supreme Court, the presidential palace and other key government buildings are located.

The helicopter also flew over the Interior Ministry, Maduro said in a speech.

“Sooner rather than later we are going to capture the helicopter and those behind this armed terrorist attack against the institutions of the country,” he said.

The Supreme Court is particularly hated by Maduro’s opponents for its string of rulings bolstering his power and undermining the opposition-controlled legislature.

“There was a social activity going on in the Supreme Court. They could have caused dozens of deaths,” Maduro said of the helicopter attack.

Opposition leaders have long been calling on Venezuela‘s security forces to stop obeying a president they call a murderous dictator.

But there was also some speculation on social media among opposition supporters that the helicopter attack could have been staged to justify repression or cover up drama at Venezuela‘s National Assembly, where two dozen lawmakers said they were being besieged by pro-government gangs.

Earlier on Tuesday, Maduro warned that he and supporters would take up arms if his socialist government was violently overthrown by opponents who have been on the streets since April. At least 75 people have died in the unrest.

“If Venezuela was plunged into chaos and violence and the Bolivarian Revolution destroyed, we would go to combat. We would never give up, and what couldn’t be done with votes, we would do with arms, we would liberate the fatherland with arms,” he said.

nicolas maduroAP Photo

Vote controversy

Maduro, who replaced Hugo Chavez in 2013, is pushing a July 30 vote for a special super-body called a Constituent Assembly, which could rewrite the national charter and supersede other institutions such as the opposition-controlled congress.

He has touted the assembly as the only way to bring peace to Venezuela. But opponents, who want to bring forward the next presidential election scheduled for late 2018, say it is a sham poll designed purely to keep the socialists in power.

They are boycotting the vote, and protesting daily on the streets to try and have it stopped. Opposition leaders call Maduro a tyrant who has wrecked a once-prosperous economy, while he calls them violent coup leaders following US orders.

Maduro, who accuses Washington of seeking to control the nation’s oil wealth, said the “destruction” of Venezuela would lead to a huge refugee wave dwarfing the Mediterranean crisis.

“Listen, President Donald Trump,” he said earlier on Tuesday. “You would have to build 20 walls in the sea, a wall from Mississippi to Florida, from Florida to New York, it would be crazy … You have the responsibility: stop the madness of the violent Venezuelan right wing.”

Opposition to the July 30 vote has come not just from Venezuelan opposition parties, but also from the chief state prosecutor Luisa Ortega and one-time government heavyweights like former intelligence service boss Miguel Rodriguez.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Rodriguez criticized Maduro for not holding a referendum prior to the Constituent Assembly election, as his predecessor Chavez had done in 1999.

“This is a country without government, this is chaos,” he said. “The people are left out … They (the government) are seeking solutions outside the constitution … That deepens the crisis.”

Maduro said an ex-pilot of Rodriguez was involved in Tuesday’s helicopter attack.

(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago, Girish Gupta, Eyanir Chinea, Andrew Cawthorne and Andreina Aponte; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Andrew Hay and Paul Tait)

NOW WATCH: A Navy SEAL explains what to do if you’re attacked by a dog

New Fiverr Pro Service Offers Handpicked Freelancers for Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)

New Fiverr Pro Service Offers Handpicked Freelancers for Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)

Hiring professional freelancers for your next project just got easier.

Israel-based freelance marketplace Fiverr has announced Fiverr Pro, the newest high-end initiative of Fiverr’s global marketplace for talent, the company says.

Fiverr Pro services are available for prospective clients and freelancers in four categories: writing and translation, graphics and design, digital marketing and video and animation.

Need for Professional Freelancers is Growing

An increasing number of small businesses are hiring freelancers for a wide range of tasks. According to a survey conducted by Fiverr, 65 percent of entrepreneurs have tapped freelance talent in the last year. Of those, 80 percent view freelancers as important or very important to the success of their business.

But finding the right talent hasn’t been easy.

Nearly half of all entrepreneurs (48 percent) cited finding talent as their biggest freelancing challenge. Hiring professional freelancers has also turned out to be a costly affair. Fiverr’s research reveals growing businesses spend an average of $1,500 just to find, vet and hire the expertise their businesses need.

Fiverr Pro Addresses Your Freelancing Needs

To help you find the best freelancers for your business, Fiverr has sought out high-end professionals already providing services on its rapidly growing marketplace.

The company has also attracted professional freelancers with strong portfolios to build its new service, including those who have worked with Vodafone, Google and Sony.

As our marketplace has evolved, we’ve recognized the growing demand from entrepreneurs for bigger and more complex projects that sometimes need highly professional freelancers with years of experience, said Micha Kaufman, Fiverr CEO in a company release today. Through Fiverr Pro, we’re bringing professional freelancers an easy way to get work, while adding the high end, trusted talent entrepreneurs are struggling to tap into.

An Intensive Process to Select Quality Freelancers

What differentiates Fiverr Pro from other freelance services on offer is what the company claims will be a rigorous hand vetting to maintain a high level of quality.

For professional freelancers, the new feature should drive customer demand for their services. It also offers management tools designed to take care of all administrative tasks so freelancers can focus more on work.

New Fiverr Pro Service Offers Handpicked Freelancers for Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)

Image: Fiverr

This article, “New Fiverr Pro Service Offers Handpicked Freelancers for Small Business (INFOGRAPHIC)” was first published on Small Business Trends