“The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook, is just to help people connect and communicate more efficiently.” Mark Zuckerberg.
Today is Facebook’s 10th Birthday. Now I equate Facebook to being like Marmite, you either love it or hate it! I was a late comer to the Facebook party after declaring my absolute hate for it in the early days but now in a complete turnaround I am an avid user, completely hooked or is that addicted to ‘Crackbook’? Why the turnaround? Moving aboard of course……such a legitimate reason!
I dipped my toe into the social media craze back in the summer of 2009 as I embarked on this expat journey as a way to stay in touch with friends and family as we ventured across the world and in the very early days it certainly helped me get through some long days in lonelyville. All those that ‘do’ Facebook have their own reasons for doing so but I challenge anyone who says they don’t like a good browse through people s photos and exploits (you could call it stalking I guess). I actually admire those that ‘don’t do’ Facebook and their resolve to turn another cheek and not jump on the bandwagon, I am just too weak and nosey!
Facebook has certainly evolved over the pass four and half years since I have joined and not always in a good way. I find the ever-changing updates and operating tweaks very frustrating and the security and privacy settings befuddle me! My biggest bugbear besides the annoying cry for attention updates (three strikes and your out works well here) is the constant games requests and friend suggestions that clog up my wall on a daily basis, no I don’t want to give or receive a life on Candy Crush thank you very much or be friends with my other half’s cousin’s mother-in-law! While I am on a moaning streak another massive irritation are those who reply to a PM (private message) on my wall – arrrgghhh I ‘inboxed’ you in the first place because it was not for public discourse! Rant over!
Now I love a good check in, why not I say? The family on the other hand hate it and I get constant groans, eye-rolls and ‘Really Mother’ from the teenager and the other half just doesn’t accept them on his timeline – party poopers! Is that going to stop me, nope! In a kind of ‘Its my page and I will check-in if I want to’ stance! The introduction of blogging into my life has also bought about the birth of a second Facebook page for ‘anexpatabroad’, a great way to share all my WordPress posts and related photos without impinging on my own personal space.
Now I know it’s Facebook big day and it should be all about them but I have to say it took a backseat for me, much like an older sibling, when my favourite social media site Instagram (not sure it’s ok to have a favourite social media site at my age really but hey I have) was born. I LOVE INSTAGRAM! If you are unfamiliar with Instagram it’s a free app where you can share a picture or video with or without a filter to transform its look and feel, so easy and good fun too! Instagram obviously gave Facebook some concerns as they paid $1 billion to acquire the photo-sharing app in April 2012 but the investment has paid off with Instagram growing by 23% in 2013.
Anyway back on track, love it or hate it you have to just take a minute to marvel at Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg’s success from an idea born in his dorm room at Harvard to 1.2 billion users worldwide in 10 years, that’s insane! With the introduction of the laptop, smartphone, tablets and all other portable devices alongside the home and work computers using Facebook has been made so much more accessible and addictive. One-third of the world’s population has access to the internet and a large majority of them are users of social media. In the next decade, Facebook has declared it has the opportunity and the responsibility to connect the other two-thirds.
“It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it. It’s been amazing to see how people have used Facebook to build a real community and help each other in so many ways,” said Zuckerberg. “In the next decade, we have the opportunity and responsibility to connect everyone and to keep serving the community as best we can.”(www.telegraph.co.uk)
Now we’ve all seen the 2010 movie ‘The Social Network’ (if you haven’t yet I would recommend you do, even if you don’t like Facebook as it’s very good) so we know roughly how it all began, if not here’s a brief history. Zuckerberg and a group of friends devised the then called ‘Thefacebook’ in their dorm room and launched the site on 4th February 2004 as a way for Harvard College students to and interact with each other online. Just six days later three seniors claimed Zuckerberg had stolen their ‘HarvardConnection.com’ idea after misleading them that he was helping them and an investigation and later a lawsuit entailed (they settled for 1.2m shares worth $300m in 2008). A month after its launch the site was expanded to other top universities, Columbia, Stanford, and Yale swiftly followed all Ivy League colleges, and gradually most universities in Canada, the United States and beyond were also onboard. One million users were signed up by the end of 2004 and Facebook had a company president, Napster founder and entrepreneur Sean Parker (Zuckerberg’s informal advisor played by Justin Timberlake in the movie, just saying) Operations moved to Palo Alto, California and it received investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Thielwas, things were moving at a lightning pace. 2005 saw ‘the’ dropped from the name and Facebook.com became the registered domain name, membership was expanded to high-school students and employees of several companies, including Apple and Microsoft. The biggest changes came in 2006 when Facebook was opened to everyone who was at least thirteen years old with a valid email address and its ‘News Feed’ was introduced and that is life as we know now it, with continuous tweaks and updates along the way.
10 RANDOM FUN FACEBOOK FACTS AND FIGURES
The ‘Like’ button was introduced on 9th February 2009.
Facebook was valued at $41 billion (November 2010) making it the third largest American web company after Google and Amazon.com.
Eighteen months later it was valued at $104 billion, with a share price of $38 (May 2012), the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company.
Facebook announced that it had more than one billion active users (October 2012)
757 million users log on to Facebook daily (As a comparison if it was a country, it would be the third largest populated in the world)
Facebook is now worth more than General Motors and Ford Motor Company combined
It registers 6 billion likes per day
400 billion photos have been shared
7.8 trillion messages have been sent
Facebook has 6,337 employees worldwide
As Facebook celebrates a decade of users, analysts have warned that its popularity is decreasing, with teenagers viewing the site as “uncool” and only keeping their profiles alive to stay in touch with older relatives (very true in our house, boohoo to being an older relative). A GlobalWebIndex report found that Facebook has declined by 3% over the last six months mainly due to increased competition from the social media crazes such as WeChat (huge in China), SnapChat (Facebook obviously troubled by this app offered them $3 billion in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain the disappearing photo-messaging service) and WhatsApp. It appears teenagers and offspring in general find parents can be embarrassing on Facebook, posting pictures (those we think are nice or hilarious but teenagers do not), adding humiliating comments to status updates and failing the basic etiquettes of online communication, Guilty As Charged, Ma Lord (I refer you back to paragraph four and the check-in debacle) on some points but not all!
On a different note, but not completely unrelated during the course of reading copious reports about Facebook today, I stumbled upon the word ‘capricious’ in the sentence ‘notoriously capricious teenagers’ which translated means ‘given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour‘ – bloody brilliant and so very true, even sometimes mid-conversation and so this my new favourite word, discombobulated you are old news much like Facebook it would seem!
Happy birthday Facebook, I still love you!
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.