Years active: 1997 to 2001. The first site that most people agree was truly social media was called Six Degrees. It was named after the six degrees of separation theory, which posits that all of us are separated from each other by a mere six steps or less. Six Degrees offered profiles, friend lists and school affiliations. The site had millions of followers, but as CBS News points out, due to the lack of people connected to the internet at that time, networks were limited.