A Brief History of Social Media [A Personal Perspective]

Here are some fun facts that might shock you. Over eight years ago you had never seen a video on YouTube. Seven years ago you had never composed a Tweet. Just three years ago you had never rendered a picture on Instagram and eight months ago you had never heard of SnapChat. This is all very hard to believe. In April 2013 there are ways to connect to people all over the world in a matter of seconds. Growing up during the 1990s I saw how this all began as the Internet became available to the public at large. Here is a brief history from my perspective.

Growing Up in the 1990s

I can clearly remember my first computer. It was an IBM (cr)Aptiva and I was 15 when I got it. Like any 15 year old boy I was excited to hop on the Internet and see what was out there; especially girls! This was a time when you paid $30 for 20 hours of internet dial up service. Ahh, the memories. One of the first things I did when I connected to “Grove Net” was to search for people. Finding people has always been at the core of the Internet. Some of the programs I downloaded were ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger. These programs were a staple through the rest of my high school career.

As I approached graduation day I knew that I would be going away to college in Raleigh, NC at North Carolina State University. My two best friends were going with me but I knew no one else who would be on campus that August. I scoured AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ but it was so very hard to find anyone who was of a similar interest. In fact, it was truly impossible. Trust me, I tried as hard as anyone to find people who would be attending NC State.

It was no longer the 1990s but the idea of social media and being social on the Internet was still very new. At this time it was considered taboo for anyone to date someone they “met online”. All of my college buddies had AOL Instant Messenger and it was the easiest way to relay messages quickly. At the time there was no where to create an online profile and post pictures. Google was just starting to get popular and GMail didn’t even exist. There were websites like Campus Flirts and others that attempted to bring college students together. Literally. The one at NC State was The Wolf Web.

As my college career was reaching its peak this website called The Facebook came out. The second I saw The Facebook I knew it was going to be huge. I have said it a million times. Anyone who was on a college campus from 1997 to 2003 knew there was a place for coeds to meet online. If you had the coding ability and the resources this was going to be enormous. Mark Zuckerburg did and the rest is history.

Was The Facebook the Beginning of Social Media?

Looking back on the early beginnings of social media it was obvious that The Facebook was nothing new. Sports fans went on message boards and forums like Rivals and Scout. TV fans were talking about Survivor and Friends on message boards on the websites of the respective channels. People are naturally social. We want to talk about the things we enjoy. The Facebook made it exclusive for college students to converse and meet with others on a college campus.

If you have followed me at all in the past five years you know that I have a firm belief that most social products start on a college campus. For those that may not be aware, that little search engine Google was created on a college campus. The Facebook was created on a college campus. Most startups are sparked from something at the collegiate level. I feel so strongly about this that I moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to be in the middle of this “social” adventure that is going on.

In February of 2005 YouTube was created and I personally feel as if this was the tipping point for social media. It wasn’t Facebook, it wasn’t Twitter and it definitely wasn’t Instagram. It was the ability for individuals to create and share videos of themselves for free. This allowed everyone to be a celebrity. Let us be honest, for the most part, social media is about being a celebrity in your own eyes. There is nothing bigger than being on TV or in a video, right?

Social Media 

It is almost hard to believe that many people have over 10 social media profiles. Here are some of the more common profiles:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Google+
  • GoodReads

It was almost unimaginable to think that you could keep up with this many profiles in the 1990s. It was all I could do to check my email! As we continue to move forward I feel as if there is a space for many niche social media websites and networks. With smartphone apps getting better every single day it stands to reason that any niche with over 1000 people interested should and will create a social media network. This has already started in some areas such as sports. You can find message boards and forums for any major university in the nation. Instead of posting to Twitter or Facebook fans would rather post to their favorite teams message board because they know the message will be well received.

I look for this to happen in almost every subject matter whether it be religion, politics, technology, business, investing or food. Birds of a feather flock together and we will see that more and more moving forward. Embrace it, find your tribe and enjoy social media for what it is. Do not let it consume your life.

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The New SEO Takes Patience with a Sense of Urgency

In my Internet Marketing and SEO infancy I wanted results quickly. Immediately after publishing a new blog post I would go to Google search and type in site:www.mysite.com and wait for Google to crawl and index my website. Sometimes I would see websites that got crawled in a matter of seconds and others would take hours. Being so new to the search world I had no answers. I went out and searched for answers but who could I really trust? I wanted the answer at that moment. It took me some time but I slowly started to realize that SEO takes patience with a sense of urgency.

Patience is an SEO Virtue

If you expect immediate search results on any website you are setting yourself up for failure. I have been quite active with this website and it took me just over three months to get a consistent 1000 visitors a day. I will admit that my uptick in content generation has helped tremendously but we will get to that more in the sense of urgency section. Rather than assuming you will create a website and get traffic starting day one recognize that it takes time. Most importantly, it takes building relationships with the right people.

Anyone who has strong relationships in their life knows that time and seasons matter. There is a different season for every stage of life and those who have been through multiple seasons of our lives mean more to us. There is a much better chance that my best friend Issac Lewis, who went to middle school, high school and college with me, will drive over and help me move my apartment than Chase La Rue who I met in October of last year. If you don’t understand this you might want to pick up a book on relationships.

Building online relationships is exactly the same. If you have a technology blog you cannot expect to get link backs from Boy Genius Report or Gizmodo in the first week. After you generate hundreds of useful articles you will likely prove that your expertise deserves a linkback. Do not get discouraged early, remain patient and create a ton of amazing content. So, this is where the sense of urgency comes in.

A Sense of Urgency is 100% Necessary with SEO

I will be the first to admit that I did not produce enough content in the early days of this website. In the last few weeks I have definitely picked up the pace. After a little bit of a kick in the fanny by some of my friends I recognized that getting natural linkbacks means you need to produce content that deserves a linkback. If you are only producing one article a week what is the likelihood you are going to be found to receive that referral?

Look at it this way. Most people hop on and off social media throughout the day. They are not going to see every single thing you do. This means there is no possible way to produce too much content. If you are producing only one piece of content a day you could be limiting yourself when it comes to the eyeballs that see your articles. I know many people are busy and they do not have time to pump out multiple articles a day.

If you truly want a successful website that sees significant growth in traffic you will need to produce a lot of content. Here is a numbers game I like to play. Let us say that I write one article a day. It is going to take me just over three months to reach 100 articles that are indexed in Google search. Ok, now lets up the ante and say I write five articles a day. Now it is only going to take me 20 days to have 100 articles indexed in search.

Not only will I have more content indexed in search but I will be submitting content throughout the day that could be seen by influencers who share my stuff. I am seeing this first hand right now. Even if a blog post only gets 15 or 20 Google +1s it is still getting retweeted and shared out for the world to see. This is why a sense of urgency is very important.

Create a Strategy Today

Unfortunately, many websites have no strategy when it comes to content creation. They are patient alright but there is no sense of urgency. If you want 50 posts indexed in Google create a deadline. If you write two posts a week It will take you half a year to get this done. If you write two posts a day you can get this done in about a month. Get motivated and create amazing content that people want to read!…

How Google Crawls and Indexes Social Media Posts

If you are interested in Google+, Twitter or social media in general please check out all of my related articles here: Wojdylo Social Media.

I will preface this content by saying this is a very brief overview of how Google crawls and indexes social media posts. If you want much more in depth research and the nuts and bolts of search I would suggest following Bill Slawski and reading his blog SEO by the Sea. I will do my best to put the process in which Google crawls and indexes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ posts into layman’s terms. Hopefully even brand new website owners and bloggers will be able to better understand what is happening behind the scenes in Google search.

Crawling and Indexing of Social Media Posts

The Google spider crawls around the web 24/7 looking for fresh content to crawl and index. For the most part, a social media post is considered a unique new website. If there is a URL for that Tweet, Google+ post or Facebook page it is considered an individual website. By clicking the timestamp on most social media posts you will see a URL that looks sometime like this:

https://plus.google.com/116024884086268367178/posts/4E1AhC9rGwZ

All of Boston asked to shelter in place.

— John Carney (@carney) April 19, 2013

This is what Google absolutely loves as Google is in the business of indexing content and ranking the most relevant at the top of Google search. In the eyes of Google, the more new websites the better. I think we can safely say that Google has crawled and indexed so many individual websites that it would be very difficult for a new search engine to catch up. The gap continues to grow as more content is produced every single day. As more social media content is created Google is a major beneficiary. Here is a real life scenario.

A lifelong goal of a marathon runner might be to complete 50 marathons. By the age 40 marathon runner A has successfully completed 35 marathons. This runner has worked very hard to build endurance and compete at the highest level. To reach that lifelong goal this runner will only need to run 15 marathons post 40. Let us say that runner B has the same goal but is just getting started with running by age 40. Runner B just completed their first marathon last week and they are excited about competing again.

By stepping back and looking at the big picture it is quite obvious that runner A is well on their way to reaching this goal. Runner B is just getting started. When starting so late it life it is going to be very difficult to fight those aches and pains. This is exactly the way I look at Search. Google was first to the game and they have built a very strong foundation. Not only have they completed the foundation but they have one of the most beautiful homes on the water.

History of Google Indexing Social Media Posts

On December 7th, 2009 Google real time search went live. If you were in Internet marketing or SEO you likely remember the “latest results for” box showing up for timely search phrases. Most of the time this box only showed up for news events or a trending topics on Twitter or Facebook. This was a very useful tool for Google search users as they could get live updates when something was happening. Google struggles to index real time events quickly enough. A perfect example is sports scores. If I search Duke vs UNC at halftime of the basketball game I will get a game preview from a local newspaper from earlier in the day ranking in Google search. I likely will not get the up to the second score.

The Google real time search was possible because of contracts with social media websites. On July 2nd, 2011 the contract with Twitter expired and real time search went offline. Ironically, this is about the same time Google opened Google+ through invitation only. Lets just say that Google saw the writing on the wall very early in the process. Real time search is meaningful and Google wanted that real time data for live events going on throughout the world.

Google+ is Different Than Facebook and Twitter

I mentioned that the contract ended with Twitter. This means that Google no longer has complete access to crawl and index individual Tweets the way it did during real time search. The same can be said of Facebook. In fact, Facebook is behind an even strong wall as most Google search users will rarely, if ever, see an individuals Facebook post show up near the top of Google search. It happens but not as often as other social media posts.

After doing well over 100 hours of testing I have seen that Google+ posts are crawled and indexed in search immediately. I firmly believe this was their objective back in June and July of 2011 when the real time search went offline. When a major event happens Google wants that data ASAP. With millions of Google+ users updating content they can crawl and index this information very quickly; almost real time. This is one of the main reasons I embraced Google+ and have worked very hard to build a following.

Let me be perfectly clear. You cannot create a Google+ profile on Thursday and expect to rank on the front page of Google search for specific keywords by Saturday. It simply does not work that way. If you are willing to build authority in a specific subject over time you will see tremendous results. If this is exciting to an Internet marketer or small business I am not sure what is.…