Today is the official birthday of Facebook and I am glad for this organization to hit the 10 year mark.
Personally I joined on my birthday in 2006* – I just scrolled through 8 years of highlights to confirm that fact. During those 8 years I evolved how I use it as it evolved around me. For a little while it was ‘the thing’ to put up albums but for me flickr was easier and faster so I fell off that wagon fast. There was also a time where people ‘blogged’ but that was very short lived and facebook cemented its conversation role rather than a content with comment based system. At some point I started posting blog post links and that was a double edged sword because while my readership went up, the number of comments on the blog went down because people would comment on facebook more often. My #1 stat day is still Niamh’s birth with over 500 hits to this site, but, that was most likely because all my info was here not on facebook. Hundreds of people congratulated me via facebook for the other two births but not record breaking stats on the blog.
Facebook has become the go to place for finding lost friends/family and for keeping in touch. I feel like I know my family better for the things they post on facebook. I know it is a limited look at things they choose to share, but, it is 110% more than I would get otherwise with the old fashioned family gossip mill. Same with friends, I try hard to talk or text regularly with a few friends but I am so incredibly glad that there is a place I can go to check if so-and-so is still alive and well. I have reconnected with an insane number of people from my past and it is a great place to get to know a new friend because you just skim back in their history and you get the highlights.
There has been talk of bullies on Facebook but in my opinion there is far less possible bullying then on other more open networks. If someone is mean; unfriend them. Bullies are far more prevalent other places on the internet where people can be anonymous, or, things are more public.
I also really like that facebook has no celebrities. There are celebrities on facebook, but, other than Mr Z, nobody to my knowledge has become famous because of Facebook. I like that. Sometimes in blogging I get down because while I love the positives I get from the site I know I have a 1:1000000 chance of becoming one of the A list bloggers. The people like Dooce that are famous because of blogging for blogging. In youtube land there are a ton too like the VlogBrothers or GeekandSundry. Both youtube and blogging are mediums that in the evolution of the platform, the public responded to someone in a HUGE way. Facebook did not do that, probably because it is was more about connecting people to each other and the public side of posting is pretty minimal.
The predictions of facebook’s demise are annoying. Yes, everything has its day and eventually that day is over. I think facebook is doing a good job evolving with technology but what I think really was a million dollar idea was when they started networking with other sites so you can ‘log into’ a site using facebook. Sure, they get some demographic info but most sites asked that anyway and now joining is a snap and I love not needing to remember a password for all the other sites. I hope the developer of that idea got a huge bonus because I bet it bought facebook another 10 years.
I am constantly puzzled by the people that are very against facebook. I know people like privacy, but, it is just the place so many things are happening and it is so easy to read for 5 min and then know the score for the day. I have to keep a mental list of my not facebook friends and remember to invite them or inform them separately 🙂
So happy birthday Facebook and many happy returns. You have one very satisfied customer here and since I can’t give you anything here are 10 gifts you gave me;
1. My first local mom friend – she saw my name and found me on facebook and started a conversation.
2. A million birthday wishes. If I ever feel unloved I can look and see how many people took a moment to think a good thought for me.
3. An opportunity to support a friend. Too many examples exist but I’m happy to be able to give a virtual thumbs up to my friends far away.
4. A peek into the lives of people in my past. Just knowing they are doing well makes me happy and sleep better at night.
5. A visual record of my life. I have this blog too, but, the little or more private moments end up on facebook.
6. The key to all the other sites – as mentioned before, I LOVE the ‘log in with facebook’ option.
7. Forums to talk about a topic I know would bore my other friends. Private groups are just the best.
8. A hivemind – ask facebook and you get answers quick.
9. A way to know what is going on, and, what my friends think about it. Like the worlds most crowdsourced opinion poll. Log on to see what ‘everyone’ is talking about.
and finally, last but not least
10. A way to connect to my friends and family
*I didn’t even mention it on my blog, I checked, but I remember thinking I better join since everything seemed to be going that way and a bunch of friends were on it already.