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A look back at the 'social' products, concepts that came before Facebook and Twitter

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Bell Picturephone
Bell Picturephone

As in years past, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms will undoubtedly see a jump in activity during the holidays. Some of us will use them to connect with friends and family unable to join us in person. Others will rely on their Facebook and Twitter feeds as a temporary reprieve from family conversation at the dinner table. And while your parents (and grandparents) may not have had the same luxuries growing up, Wired is today reminding us these social networks didn't just spawn out of nowhere.

Decades before trending topics and hashtags entered the collective mindset, we were dreaming up things like the Memex desk. Skype and Apple's FaceTime may have revolutionized the concept, but Bell's Picturephone made video chat a reality back in 1964. And before anyone was talking about "apps," Japanese consumers were streaming videos, playing games, and checking maps on the go thanks to the iMode Phone. For the entertaining history lesson on all these early social initiatives, head over to Wired.