Akito Yoshikane

The Yellow Brick Avenue

Today’s social networking phenomenon has its roots in Asian America.

Growing up in Chicago’s northern suburbs in the mid-1990s, Jillian Pobocan often felt culturally isolated as one of the few Asian Americans in her area.

But in a shift from previous generations, the emergence of the Internet allowed her to seek connections online. So when she was 17, Pobocan was one of the hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans to sign up for Asian Avenue, a race-based online community that has been credited as the second social networking website ever created, after sixdegrees.com.