Yet, many businesses still seem to act like it just occurred over night. In case some folk haven’t paid attention until The Social Network came along in theaters, blogging was started in 1994. Granted, according to Wikipedia, it started to boom in 1999 and wasn’t mainstream until 2004. And the numbers keep escalating, but Technorati’s 2010 estimate on number of blogs in the world was 112.8 million.
Microblogging hit it big with Twitter’s founding in 2006. As of last July, there were an estimated 190 million people tweeting. Facebook is older than that, founded in 2004, with a whopping 600 million active users (as of January 2011).
LinkedIn was founded a year earlier in 2003 — which makes sense as it was geared for business and getting jobs. As of January, there’s 90 million active users there.
So there’s your history lesson. But the real advice is: dive in, learn about how it works. The numbers above represent huge communities who could need your company or brand. Consult with a Social Media expert (I can help or refer you) or look to many of your own employees — it’s what many do in their spare time.