Facebook turned nine yesterday.
Nine years ago, I was 13. Not my prime. (I would add a picture of my 13 year old self but I don’t want anyone’s eyes to burn out.) I was still dancing (standing in the corner) to “Yeah!” by Usher at the middle school dances and “The Reason” by Hoobastank was the #1 song of the year. HOOBASTANK. My, how we’ve evolved since then. (Here’s a list of the other top songs that year–it’s quite the compilation.)
At the time Facebook was started, it was only available to college students. I remember my brother, a college freshman at the time, talking about it and how weird it was that someone from his elementary school classmates had added him. I, being the trendsetter (follower) that I was then, of course had a Myspace, but I just wasn’t really that into it. I mean I was only on like 2 people’s top 8. (Well look at me now, world! I’m an almost-college grad with no job lined up! In your FACE haters!)
Flashforward a year, and Facebook was introduced to high schoolers– a crew to which I could now call my own. Freshman year, braces off, and a new lease on life (or at least a new haircut). At my school, everyone was required to have a laptop, as we were a very technologically driven school. (Thank goodness for that, because I don’t know how I would’ve gotten my Zac Efron-circa-“High School Musical” fix otherwise…) Anyway, Facebook caught on like wildfire, and I had to join in on the fun because well, everyone else was doing it! Obvi.
This was my very first profile picture:
Me and my two best friends had a sleepover that first weekend that Facebook was introduced and spent literally the entire night adding friends from school and boys we thought were cute but who we would never talk to IRL. Because no, that wasn’t creepy at all. At that time, you had to go much further out of your way to stalk people too. UGH. Facebook opened right into your own profile. There was no newsfeed (a stalker’s dream).
A lot has changed since then. Facebook itself has changed numerous times, always to initial cries of protest, followed by slow acceptance and integration. There was the intoduction of the newsfeed, the timeline, targeted ads on the sides and later, within the newsfeed, and the most recent update, the graph search. I have also changed a bit since then. I no longer friend randos, (because that is scary–hello, “Catfish“), and I no longer love Jesse McCartney. Whatever happened to him anyway?
Facebook has paved the way for every other social media site that is popular today. Granted, others existed before, but they were nowhere near as popular and over-arching as Facebook has been since day one. According to an article on the Huffington Post, Mark Zuckerberg, at one point early on, considered adding a feature that would allow users to upload a resume so that companies could search for Harvard grads to fill positions. A LinkedIn before LinkedIn, we’ll say.
Personally, I’m glad Zuckerberg stuck to the more social side. It has allowed for the Advertising field to revolutionalize. This past weekend, there were more than 52 million social media mentions about the Super Bowl, and the majority of the commercials had some sort of social media call-to-action (primarily Twitter hashtags, but even a mention for Instagram!)
Everything we do has been affected by Facebook. We interact with people differently, we do our jobs differently, hey, we even search for jobs differently. Our lives are driven by the Internet. We have an infinite amount of information at our fingertips and we are using it to change the world.
I’m amazed that what was once just a silly pastime is now something that I’m looking to carry into my professional life. Advertising is an ever-changing field that I am ecstatic to be a part of. Who else can say that when they graduate, they will be able to get paid to work with social media?
Well the reason is you, Facebook. The reason is you.