It’s a phenomenon which seems to have come from nowhere, but in fact computer-based social networks have been around for decades. In this three-part series the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones traces the hidden story of social networking, from the early days of computing and the 60s counterculture through to the businesses worth billions today. From their roots in utopian experiments in California, online social networks spread around the world. In the past few years companies such as Facebook and Twitter have captivated millions of users. But what will be the next big thing in social networking, and how is it changing our lives?
Rory Cellan-Jones traces the roots of social networking from the counterculture of the 70s through early bulletin boards and the first networks on the World Wide Web. Forty years ago, hippies and hackers came together to produce the first attempts at online community. Rory follows the trend through to the arrival of the World Wide Web, which turned a mass audience on to the internet and social networking. Part 1 of 3.