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Facebook Turns 10: Happy Birthday to the Biggest Social Network in the World

BIRTHDAYFacebook is 10-years-old today, can you believe it?

I don’t remember when I started hearing about Facebook — in 2004 I was just beginning to enter the blogosphere and immerse myself in all things internet, but I can’t seem to remember hearing much about it until probably 2006 or so. Remember, it was only for college students initially, and I was far from college age in 2004.

Facebook finally allowed anyone over age 13 to join starting in September of 2006, yet I still didn’t join until about 9 months later when it was clear that I could no longer ignore it. My first update? “Currently the oldest person on Facebook.”

Facebook is the epitome of a “disruptive” startup, and it’s hard to imagine anything else that has changed our lives so dramatically. Aaron Sorkin — who wrote the famous movie about Facebook, The Social Network, in 2010 — said of Facebook, “It’s a device that’s meant to connect us, to bring us closer together. I think, and I know I’m in the minority (at minimum there are 500 million people who disagree with me) in thinking it’s pushing us further apart. I think socializing on the Internet is to socializing what reality TV is to reality.”

But Facebook offers so much that is wonderful — I love staying connected to folks that I’ve known for decades even though they are scattered around the world. Socializing on the internet has changed how we connect to other people and, of course, has created the largest public record of data about humanity in the history of the world. We have willingly given away our privacy in exchange for connection, and big data is big business.

Facebook has also created plenty of problems. Many psychologists believe Facebook contributes to depression and low self-esteem, and FOMO (fear of missing out) is a social media phenomena that causes us to obsessively check our Facebook pages for updates. Not to mention the way college admissions offices and human resources departments are using our Facebook feeds to evaluate our worth.

Will Facebook still be here in another decade? In a letter on his Facebook page, Mark Zuckerberg claims it will, but it will work toward helping others more. “That’s why I’m even more excited about the next 10 years than the last,” he states. “The first 10 years were about bootstrapping this network. Now, we have the resources to help people across the world solve even bigger and more important problems.”

Let’s hope they do. As they say, ‘with big power comes big responsibility.’ With over 1.2 billion users, Facebook certainly has the power. It will be interesting to see how they use it in the coming decade.

Facebook has been kind enough to offer users the opportunity to watch a video of their history on Facebook. It’s rather lovely.

 

 

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