Facebook was originally made for Harvard students and Harvard students only. In February of 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook” as an outlet for students to learn more about and interact with other students. This idea spread and was eventually offered to all Ivy League colleges. At first, Facebook was an elite social network, requiring a valid email address from distinct institutions.
As we all know, Facebook is now far from elite. Facebook is now a free social network, paid for by advertisements, and open to anyone with a valid email address. Both businesses and people use Facebook as a part of their daily routine. Today, a staggering amount of 1.23 billion users are on Facebook, compared to only 20 million back in 2007.
I remember when Facebook was first accessible to high school students. I had been spending all of my time on MySpace, changing my profile song, scrolling through ‘bulletins’ and manually browsing through my friends’ profiles to see if they had added anything new. Facebook offered a much more organized and functional social network.
Facebook took over the world like a virus. Slowly, Myspace activity started to diminish. People started changing their MySpace biographies to “Add me on Facebook”. It was the cool, new thing to do. It still is, and I am pretty sure it’s going to stay like that.
To get a rough idea of how much time you’ve spent on Facebook, check out this TIME article.
One of the reasons Facebook is so successful is that it offers people an opportunity to engage with ‘friends’ by playing online games. These interactive games like FarmVille and Candy Crush are not just there for entertainment purposes. These games have advertisements, which bring money in. And they encourage users to keep logging on to Facebook. It’s not just about wall posts or messaging anymore.
Pretty much every one and their mother (literally) have a Facebook account. It is one of the primary ways in which people communicate today. It’s in your pocket on your iPhone, on your desk on your computer, and advertised everywhere from cups to commercials. Today’s Facebook is meant for both people and businesses. Although advertisements are prevalent, they don’t necessarily crowd out the opportunity for human interaction.
Like I said, every one is on Facebook, all the time. Advertisers and marketing professionals see this new past time as an opportunity to spread their brand and attempt to sell us products. As I made the leap from MySpace to Facebook, corporations and organizations alike were following right behind me. I may spend more of my time on Facebook than in front of my Television, but that doesn’t mean I found a loophole in the way of advertisements.
Basically every company in existence has a Facebook page, and every time we “like” one of them, we are spreading awareness of their brand. This idea brings a whole new meaning to “word of mouth”. A simple Facebook interaction can offer free advertising. Companies try to engage with their clientele through the Internet, more specifically Facebook, because that is simply where people are these days.
Sometimes I feel bad for the ghost land that is MySpace. Sometimes nostalgia takes over and I wish I could add a song to my Facebook page, customize my page with a cool background, or post a bulletin with a 50 question survey I filled out. Those were the sacrifices we all made to have a more structured and well-designed social network. Facebook is much more than MySpace ever was. Sorry, Tom.