“What was the first social network created on the internet“? This is not a very simple question to answer, not least because there were (and still exist) many social services that came before Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and cia. In fact, there are even social networks older than the internet itself. Let’s, however, try to point one of them.
Many people often answer the above question with “Orkut” (2004), which was the first mass-ified social network (at least between Brazilians and Indians). But some previous tools, in one way or another, are also considered social.
LinkedIn, a network founded in 2002, was born with the mission of connecting companies and professionals in the corporate sector. But over time, the platform has evolved to support social interactions. The Last.fm, a music taste sharing service, also launched in 2002, already had some built-in social interactions.
However, the first social network — born along the lines of what is expected of one — was Classmates.com, founded in 1995, in the early days of the internet.
The Classmates.com was a network created with the aim of connecting people, especially friends from school times, who separated over the years. It is a service that remains in the air to this day and connects profiles of users who have met in one of several stages of school life, from Kindergarten to university. But only in america.
The Classmates.com also has resources to locate friends who served together in the United States Armed Forces (the platform is focused on serving users from 50 U.S. states), as well as former co-workers.
Once reunited, friends can interact by tagging events, exchanging messages, or finding others. Since then, the interface has changed and improved a lot.
Although the Classmates.com is a very old social network, it holds the title of first created when the internet was already available to everyone. Before it, however, came two more restricted networks that cemented the bases of social interaction at a distance and by electronic means. We’re talking about BBS and Quantum Link.
BBS, short for Bulletin Board System, is a system or program aimed at exchanging information between connected users. It operates with independent networks, established by independent institutions that connected individuals, companies, universities and etc. To use BBS, the user needed to connect their computer to the telephone line, in the same way as the dial-up internet.
The first BBS network was founded in 1973; examples such as the Portuguese Fidonet (still in activity) and the Brazilian RBT (joined by Fidonet later) had numerous users and several repositories, for the most diverse purposes: study, work, games, chat, discussions about hardware and software and etc. Most home computers between the late 1980s and early 1990s (Apple II, Commodore, Atari 800, TRS-80, etc.) were compatible with BBS networks.
2. Quantum Link (Q-Link)
Founded in 1985, Quantum Link (shortening, Q-Link) was an online network that was the improved version of PlayNET, launched by the same company a year earlier by Quantum Computer Services. Aimed only at Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computers, it operated only in the United States and Canada, but brought e-mail services, repositories for studies, news, chat rooms and games, having hosted the first MMORPG in history: Club Caribe/Habitat, Lucasfilm Games (later LucasArts). In 1989, the Quantum Link network changed its name, adopting another that later renamed the company itself: America Online.