Dark Social: We Have the Whole History of the Web Wrong - Alexis C. Madrigal
Here's a pocket history of the web, according to many people. In the early days, the web was just pages of information linked to each other. Then along came web crawlers that helped you find what you wanted among all that information. Some time around 2003 or maybe 2004, the social web really kicked into gear, and thereafter the web's users began to connect with each other more and more often. Hence Web 2.0, Wikipedia, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'm not strawmanning here. tl;dr version 1. 2. 3. 4. But it's never felt quite right to me. To be honest, this was a very difficult thing to measure. There are circumstances, however, when there is no referrer data. This means that this vast trove of social traffic is essentially invisible to most analytics programs. Nonetheless, the idea that "social networks" and "social media" sites created a social web is pervasive. Everyone else had data to back them up. Just look at that graph. Get this.