Before we consider various types of social media and their roles in our recent times, it is important to mention their history which has developed over the years. Miotk (2013: 15) is of the opinion that social media appeared as the consequence of the development of modern technology. First of all, modern and capacious Internet connections enabled people to send bigger files such as films, audio records, and even photos. Second of all, social media are also the product of the Internet which has been growing rapidly recently. Not so many years ago, the Internet was used only by scholars and white-collar workers who had higher education. However, later on social hierarchy has changed and nowadays almost everyone is able to use the Internet in all possible places. These phenomena initiated the process of developing more and more websites which became very popular in the USA. People were able to create their own websites, exchange their content with other users, create blogs, chat rooms, and even special programs for recording short and long videos. This trend was called ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘User

19 Generated Content.’ The range of this trend was so broad that it also appeared in Poland in 2004. The term ‘social media’ was translated as ‘nowe media’ and ‘media społecznościowe.’ The history of social media is vividly illustrated in table 1.

The period of time The development of social media 1994 – 1999

2000

2001

2003

2004

The occurrence of the first social networks in the USA: Tha Palace (1994), Six Degrees (1997), Move on (1998), LiveJurnal, Black Planet, Napster, Blogger, Epinions (1999).

Gadu-Gadu – the most famous Polish communicator. In 2012, 6 millions of people were using it.

Fotka.pl – a kind of social network where users can post photos and comment them.

At the same time, the development of Wikipedia can be observed.

The following social media are becoming more and more popular: LinkedIn, MySpace, Del.icio.us, Last.fm, and network game Second Life.

Another social network named ‘Grono’ is gaining its popularity in Poland. Initially, not everyone could be a part of this community. A free entrance was possible only by receiving a formal invitation. At the same time, one can observe the development of other social networks such

20 2005

2006

2008

2010

2011

2012

as Digg, Flickr, Facebook, and Orkut.

This year is the heyday of YouTube – the first social network where people can upload videos.

Two social networks are developing at the same time: Twitter in the USA and Nk.pl in Poland.

The heyday of the Polish version of Facebook.

The development of Pinterest and Google Buzz.

The Polish version of Twitter and Google+

debuted in Poland.

The fall of “ Grono” social network.

Table 1: The history of social media (Miotk, 2016: 13).

According to Boyd (2007: 214), the social network called SixDegrees was the first site which gained its popularity in the USA. Not only did it allow people to create profiles and add photos, but also to support lists of friends which were available to others in comparison to other websites such as AIM or ICQ where this function was not available. Even though SixDegrees was perceived as a social network which attracted millions of users, it was closed in 2000. The main function of this site was to connect people from different parts of the world and exchange as many messages as possible.

Unfortunately, at that time not everyone had an easy access to the Internet and the lists of friends who were online were not extended enough. There were complaints that after

21 accepting Friend requests, there was nothing more to do and people were not willing to meet strangers from unknown areas or other countries.

From 1997 to 2001, a great number of social networks such as AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet or MiGente allowed people to create their own profiles, add photos, and make contacts with other people. In 2001, a social network called Ryze.com was launched. It was the first site which helped people to start and develop their business. It was introduced to people who were members of big companies, entrepreneurs, investors, and some other businessmen. Shortly after it, other social networks such as Tribe.net, LinkedIn, and Friendster were created. The founders of these sites believed that their mutual cooperation was possible without competing (Wallace, 2001: 48).

Year 2002 was the time when Friendster was launched as a social complement to Ryze. It was another site which enabled people to create accounts and share photos;

however, the emphasis was put on dating. Very soon it became popular among three groups of adopters such as bloggers who published their comments and posts there, attendees of the Burning Man arts festival, and gay men. Unfortunately, too rapid growth of this social network caused that services and databases could not easily adjust to upgrade changes and innovations which constantly appeared. This is the reason why systems often crashed and the users of this site made complaints to the main administrators. Furthermore, strict restrictions of this website prevented people from seeing friends of their friends; consequently, they had to add some strangers in order to expand their reach. The process of collecting friends was getting bigger and bigger and some people started to create fake accounts in order to collect as many friends as possible. For example, only by creating a fake account of University were they able to find some old friends or people who they would like to have in their friends lists. Due to some technical problems and social collisions many users decided to delete their accounts and leave this website (Boler, 2008: 112).

MySpace was another social website which gained its popularity in 2003 when Friendster was not used anymore. The main idea of MySpace was to encourage Friendster users to join this new website. Indie-rock band was the first group who showed their willingness for joining MySpace owing to the fact that they were expelled from Friendster for failing to comply with some rules and regulations. At the very beginning, MySpace did not have any purposes to link their website with some bands;

however, the moment these Indie-rock bands started to promote MySpace through advertisements and leaflets, they changed their minds and decided to give such bands a

22 chance. Obviously, these bands were not the only source, but this mutual relationship between bands and their fans was extremely important in developing this website. It appeared to be beneficial for both sides: bands wanted to contact new fans and fans wanted to promote their favorite bands. What is more important, MySpace did not introduce any restrictions and rules. In 2004, many teenagers from different parts of the world joined MySpace because they wanted to be in contact with their favorite bands. In fact, one can distinguish three various groups which decided to join MySpace:

musicians/ artists, teenagers, and post-college urban people. In July 2005, MySpace was purchased for $580 million. Unfortunately, some rumors concerning consumer affairs and sexual interactions spread so quickly that MySpace lost its popularity and soon became infamous (Loader et al, 2012: 89).

Some thought should be given to another social website which is close to our heart since it functions as the source of the language material needed for conducting necessary research for this dissertation. Facebook which unexpectedly became the most famous and prestigious website was launched on February 4, 2004. This social network was supposed to function as a service supporting only college networks. Mark Zuckerberg who was the student of Harvard College decided to create a social network which could make people’s lives easier. Its name comes from students’ directories called ‘face books’ which included photos and some basic information about students.

Initially, Facebook was popular only among those who were the members of Harvard College and its primary name was ‘TheFacebook’. To be a user of this service, students were obliged to possess a hardvard.edu email address. Within two weeks, more than 2/3 of students became members of this on-line social network. It was the main reason why Mark Zuckerberg decided to encourage other schools and universities to use it on a larger scale. The moment Facebook began supporting other schools and universities, their students were also required to log in by means of email addresses which were strictly connected with their places of studying. Only by implementing such a requirement could the users of Facebook be sure about their privacy and security.

In September 2005, Facebook became so famous that high school students, workers of corporate networks, and eventually everyone were allowed to use it on a regular basis. The fact that a vast majority of people were able to use it, did not mean that access to it was so easy. Members of corporate networks were supposed to possess an appropriate .com address and high school students were obliged to have a permission from the school headmaster of administration. Nowadays, Facebook is so popular that

23 more than 2,2 billion active users are using it on a regular basis. In Poland, in 2018 more than 16,3 million people were using Facebook. However, it is crucial to mention about the division into Facebook which functions as a social network devoted to writing some comments, opinions, sending photos, and Facebook Messenger which is used mostly for talking to new people and friends. It is not necessary to log in on Facebook in order to talk to friends on Facebook Messenger and it is not obligatory to have someone in a friends’ list in order to talk to him or her. Nonetheless, it is compulsory to have an account to function in this community (Tereszkiewicz 2014). Facebook possesses some important goals and features:

- meeting new people and making friends, - uploading photos and commenting on them, - promoting important events and organizations,

- sharing some interesting information and posts with other users, - talking to people,

- posting advertisements and announcements, - playing on-line games,

- joining various groups.

Boyd (2008: 217) believes that taking into consideration the fact that these social websites became so popular, one may say about a global phenomenon which soon was present in other countries. Table 2 presents the names of other social networks which were created later on together with the place of their occurrence.

The name of the social network The place of its occurrence 1. MySpace

2. Friendster

3. Orkut

4. Mixi

The USA

Pacific Islands

India, Brazil

Japan

24 5. LunarStorm

6. Grono

7. Hi5

8. Bebo

9. Skyrock

10. Windows Live Spaces

Sweden

Poland

Latin America, South America, Europe

United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia

France

Mexico, Italy, Spain

Table 2: Social networks and their worldwide occurrence (Boyd, 2008: 2012).

W dokumencie A comparative analysis of grammatical structures and vocabulary in Polish and English Facebook chats (Stron 18-24)