Six Degrees is largely credited as the first social media ever created and it was created by Andrew Weinreich in 1996 and launched in 1997.
The site’s name is from the concept ‘six degrees of separation’, which argues that all people are six or less connections away from one another.
Weinreich’s company MacroView, which was later renamed SixDegrees Inc., created the website and at one point, it had nearly 100 employees. There are several ideas from the first social media platform that is still around today.
For example, it introduced the concept of naming the parent company after the website. Also, it had features like the ability to send messages (DMs), a general bulletin board (Timeline or TL), and befriending others. Safe to say, it built the very skeleton for modern social media.
Six Degrees (also called 6 Degrees) users can list friends, family members and acquaintances both on the site and externally. External contacts are then invited to join and even if they refused to join, they kept getting email updates of what is happening on the site.
Is Six Degrees social media still active?
The real Six Degrees social media is currently defunct but there is still has a landing page that was created by some enthusiastic internet user. If you try to join, you will need an exclusive invite code from active users.
If you have never heard of Six Degrees, you are not alone. Why has not many people heard about the first social media platform? It is likely because it stuck around for just three years before going under in 2000.
In its place arose more popular early social media platforms like Friendster (2003), MySpace (2003), LinkedIn (2003), XING (2003), and Facebook (2004). Of the earliest, Facebook is the only one that went on to became a multi-billion corporation, reaching a market capitalisation of $318.34 billion in December 2022, according to Companies Market Cap. These days, the Facebook company is now known as Meta but the social media platform remains active.
What became of the first social media, Six Degrees, creator, Andrew Weinreich? After selling it to YouthStream Media Networks for $125 million in 1999, he founded Joltage, an infrastructure services business aimed at building a global network of Wi-Fi hotspots. In 2003, he created I Stand For, Inc., a technology solution to transfer political fundraising online and co-founded a mobile dating site called MeetMoi in 2006.
Weinreich and his MeetMoi co-founder also created Xtify, a geo-notification API that uses location-tracking via mobile device settings. IBM would later buy Xtify in 2013.
Several of Andrew Weinreich’s companies were ‘first of their kind’ and a lot of his ideas, especially Joltage, were considered to be ahead of their time. While Six Degrees may no longer be around, its founder is still very much an active presence in Silicon Valley, he serves as chairman of data analytics startup Indicative, and he holds two software patents.
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