How 2014 changed the Internet forever

Ten years ago, developments in commerce, activism, and influencer culture coalesced, and our contemporary concept of “being online” was born

May 21, 2024

2014 was the year when affiliate marketing was formalized and introduced to the world through founder Amber Venz Box’s system, the year when Snapchat began monetizing its story function for brand sponsorships.

Creators were no longer just floundering young people sharing the things they liked with the world - they were becoming a class of celebrities in their own right, an untapped stream of clicks-to-cash for major brands to utilize.

Looking back now, when our feeds are a perpetual washing machine of sponcon, paid partnerships, and videos hashtagged #ad, the digital world of 2014 feels like a relic. Over the past decade, social media has waffled into a multitentacled corporate entity, becoming not just a factor but often a key player in our politics, interpersonal connections, and self-perceptions.

Get the full story at The Ringer

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