Social Media Museum

The history of social media

Category Archive : 1970s


Usenet starts as the first discussion network between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, then opens up to the whole world and fascinates generations with its newsgroups. Read More

Bulletin Board System starts

Two hobby programmers from Chicago start the Bulletin Board System (BBS) to inform friends about meetings, meeting places and so on. The rudimentary start of a small community, including trolls and flame wars. Read More

Talkomatic, TERM & PLATO

  • Talkomatic is being developed by Dave Woolley and Douglas Brown at the University of Illinois as a multi-user chatroom application. It is an instant sensation among users of the PLATO system's online community.
  • TERM-Talk is developed by the staff of the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois as an instant messaging application that allows any two users of the PLATO system to have a live conversation, typing character by character on the bottom of the screen of their PLATO terminals. Soon many features were added, including "monitor mode", which allowed one user in the TERM conversation to share their own screen with the other user to ask questions or point out something they were seeing. Years later, this concept would be introduced as "screen sharing" or remote desktop software.
  • PLATO Notes is developed by 17-year-old student Dave Woolley at the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois as a conference and bulletin board forum system for communicating with the user community. In 1976, Notes was expanded to allow any user to create a "note file" on any topic. PLATO Notes was to serve as the inspiration for Lotus Notes, which was developed by former PLATO users Ray Ozzie, Len Kawell and Tim Halvorsen.


Nasir Ahmed invents the discrete cosine transform (DCT). Since then, it has become the most widely used data compression algorithm in social media, enabling practical transmission and streaming of digital media. It is the basis for most media compression standards, including digital image formats such as JPEG, video encoding formats such as H.26 x and MPEG, and audio compression standards such as Dolby Digital and MP3.

You have mail!

Ray Tomlinson sends the world's first email.