All posts by Leah Monteleone

Celebrating 20 Years of Technology – The Evolution of Social Media

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Social media has become an integral part of modern society mostly driven by the apps on your smartphone like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Today, social media allows us to instantly connect with people and share content in real-time – can we even remember life before it? Apparently, there were other social platforms before Facebook and Snapchat that prove how far we’ve come over the last 20 years.

Let’s take a quick ride down memory lane to witness the evolution of social media.

1997: Six Degrees

Six Degrees launched in 1997 and was the first modern social network. The platform allowed users to create a profile and become friends with other users. At its peak, the site had around a million members and was later purchased in 2000 for $125 million before it eventually shut down in 2001.

2002: Friendster

Friendster, founded in 2002, was once deemed the hottest social networking tool. Even Google wanted to buy it for $30 million back in 2003. Burdened by technical glitches and Facebook, the tool was pretty much obsolete in the U.S. by 2006. The platform finally met its fate in 2009 when a site redesign crushed it.

2003: LinkedIn

Also founded in 2003, LinkedIn took a career-focused approach to social networking. The platform was devoted to business ‒ made for people to connect with other professionals, hence LinkedIn’s contacts are referred to as “connections”. Today, LinkedIn boasts more than 467 million members and was acquired by Microsoft in December 2016.

2003: Myspace

Founded in 2003, MySpace was the poster child for early social media success. By 2006, its user base had grown to make it the most popular social network in the world at that time. MySpace differentiated itself from competitors by allowing users to completely customize the look of their profiles. Myspace was notoriously known for its ‘top 8’, which allowed users to feature their top 8 friends on their profile page. Although the top 8 is now a mere memory, we’ll always remember Tom for being our first social media friend.

2004: Facebook

Facebook launched in 2004 as a Harvard-only exercise and opened to the general public in 2006. By 2009, Silicon Valley leaders invested tens of millions of dollars to see the platform flourish. Facebook now has 2.2 billion monthly active users and the rest is social media history.

2006: Twitter

Twitter was born in 2006 and has since developed a loyal user base of celebrities, politicians, athletes, journalists, etc. In 2008, Twitter denied Facebook’s attempt to buy the platform for $500 million. The platform is now home to 330 million monthly active users.

2010: Instagram

Instagram was released in 2010 as a photo sharing app. By 2012, Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1 billion. Today, Instagram has over 800 million users and remains the go-to photo app for iPhone and Android. 

2011: Snapchat

Snapchat launched in 2011 as a message and photo sharing app popular amongst tweens, teens and young adults. Just one year after its launch, Mark Zuckerberg reportedly tried to buy the app for $3 billion, which Snapchat denied. Snapchat now has 150 million daily active users globally, and Snap Inc., Snapchat’s parent company, went public in March 2017.


What will come next? Only time will tell. While you’re here, make sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

From Liberty US: A World’s Fair Nano Conference Recap

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Liberty’s own Megan Keesee and Leah Monteleone attended the World’s Fair Nano Conference in San Francisco – a festival featuring virtual reality, drones, motorized skateboards, wearable tech, robotics, IoT, 3D printing, and more. This event provided a sneak peak into the future of tech with an all-star speaker lineup of founders and CEOs to share their experiences and insight. Read on for a recap.

To set the scene, this conference looked like Coachella met SXSW in 2050. The day was spent listening to speakers discuss the future of journalism, feminism, AI, robotics, medicine, automation and human connection.

Standout Sessions

With a variety of great talks from neuroscientists to NGOs, the conference truly had everything. Some of the most memorable talks were The Future of IoT and The Future of the Brain. In the Future of IoT session, If This Then That (IFTTT) CEO, Linden Tibbets, pegged the big compatibility problem with the accelerated development of IoT and all our smart appliances. IFTTT’s vision for common, secure API standards looks very bright.

David Eagleman, PhD and Neuroscientist at Stanford University, blew us away with his research on the brain’s perception of senses. He has  developed a vibrating vest that can help the deaf hear, the blind see, and the rest of us develop brand new senses and perceive things like infrared light, radio waves, even the pulse of other human beings.

Another memorable talk was given by Dave Pell, writer and publisher of NextDraft – an email newsletter of the day’s top ten most fascinating news items. He spoke on the future of journalism and how PR will continue to evolve in a society where fake news and alternative facts have become commonplace. He also discussed the relevance of biased news sources and stressed the importance of educating ourselves on both sides of every news story. As PR professionals, we cannot just expose ourselves to news consistent with our thoughts and beliefs.

Tech on Display

In addition to the presentations, the conference had row upon row of cutting edge tech on display. We saw consumer and enterprise drones, virtual reality headsets, artificial reality demo booths, smart baby monitors, new and improved wearables and more.

Looking Forward

Our main takeaway? The tech world is continuously evolving. In order to remain relevant as tech PR professionals, we must make sure we remain nimble and change with the times. It is essential we continue to challenge ourselves as an agency and our clients in this ever-changing digital world to ensure we stay at the forefront of the tech industry.