Facebook Turns 9 and It’s Growing Up Fast

Facebook's ninth birthdayCritics commonly criticize the internet’s information culture for providing too much information too fleetingly. People are informed about an issue or an event and then a week later completely forget it. They believe communication has been trivialized. To others, the internet has opened up the world and made communication easier. Wherever you might stand, there’s no doubt that Facebook has played a huge role in changing the internet. Today the social platform celebrates its 9th birthday.

Happy B-Day, Facebook!

I can still remember being told to check out thefacebook.com my freshman year of college. What an odd site this was. But I stuck with it, as did many of my friends. It was for college students only and it felt good to be a part of a network that was special and for us only. Little did anyone know how big The Facebook would get.

As the Times of India reports today, Facebook had humble beginnings. It was “started on February 4, 2004 in a dorm of Harvard University by Mark Zuckerberg.” Since that little dorm experiment, Facebook has grown into a part of many connected cultures around the world. The company stayed private until May of 2012 when it was subject to an interesting and less-than-pristine IPO. Still, after that IPO the company “was valued at over $100 billion” per the Times.

The economics tell a success story, but Facebook is more than just a profitable (although not profitable enough for Wall Street) company. To take a personal example, my friends in college were the only people I knew on Facebook in 2004. In 2013, almost my entire family – including the grandparents – use Facebook on a daily basis. I know this is a pattern reflected for almost everyone. In 9 years Facebook bridged the generational gap and has connected over one billion people around the world.

 Growing Up and Growing Better

Luckily for everyone (businesses and people!) Facebook isn’t resting on its haunches and relishing in its 9-year success story. The company has been forced to make a lot of changes since going public, but they are still pushing innovation and the importance of connecting on Facebook.

One of the greatest examples of growing up that Facebook announced late in its eighth year was Facebook Graph Search. I find Greg Satell’s recent discussion on Forbes about Facebook Graph to be very insightful. He writes, “what Facebook Graph search really signifies is that it is entering the race to marry natural language processing with big data.”

I get a hint from that statement of what the future of the internet and big data might look like. Facebook is helping to bridge the connection people have with data and computers. Imagine ten or twenty years down the road, when you might interact with computers the way you interact with another human.

Smartphones are vital to that changed interaction. Facebook has been making improvements in their mobile interaction that help not only people, but businesses as well. Their mobile revenues are up; a good sign that many businesses are paying attention to. Sarah Kessler describes Facebook’s outlook towards smartphones on Fast Company today. She writes that Facebook wants “to make Facebook tools the go-to apps for everyday mobile living.” It’s an interesting plan and one that people should pay attention to.

Not Even a Teen Yet

Facebook hasn’t even reached its teen years – heck, it isn’t even 10 yet! By this time next year, you can bet that Facebook will have made a multitude of changes to its services that will improve its role as a social media platform for people. The changes will undoubtedly benefit businesses and their online presence as well. I’m already looking forward to Facebook’s 10th birthday!

What do you think about Facebook turning nine?


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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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