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Facebook blows the candle on 10th anniversary

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 00:02

Facebook

William Guerra

Facebook users will have one more happy birthday wish to send on Tuesday as the social media site celebrates its 10th anniversary.

There was an average of 757 million daily active users during December 2013, according to a 2013 fourth quarter report published by Facebook. There may be some debate as to whether the site has waned in popularity, but as Facebook amasses millions of users, the company still continues to change and adapt to maintain its presence in many people’s lives.

“I’d like to pretend I was clairvoyant and could understand, but I really didn’t know it would grow to what it’d become, or the power of it,” said Greg Ormes, communication professor. “I think I always thought it was going to be more superficial and have less capacity to really change the world.”

Ormes said as an undergraduate in college, he remembered hearing a “buzz” surrounding the topic of Facebook as it began to gradually expand beyond its exclusive membership among particular universities. Ormes said he made a profile around 2005 or 2006.

“Back then, there weren’t status updates, there weren’t places to put pictures or video or things like that, and if I’m not mistaken, there wasn’t even the live feed of home information,” Ormes said. “You would have to go to various people’s pages to get their information.”

Ormes said Facebook is more than just a platform for communication but a
“multimedia experience.”

Brooke Halsey, senior telecommunication and media studies major, said she didn’t expect Facebook to last as long as it has, but attributed its longevity to the important role it plays in the daily life of many, including herself.

“I have the app on my phone so if I’m bored I’ll scroll through my news feed to see what’s new,” Halsey said. “I follow like news sites and clothing stores so it keeps me updated on a lot different stuff, not just my friends.”

Jose Contreras, senior engineering technology major, said he expected Facebook to remain a strong medium because of its
constant adaptations.

“They bought Instagram — they bought all these things, they kept it really controlled compared to MySpace, and MySpace was like, ‘What do the users want?’” Contreras said. “Facebook is more about, ‘What can we show them what they like and they’ll use?’”

Despite Facebook’s continued popularity, some people make do without a profile, citing concerns on how it affects the spread
of information.

Brian Altenhofen, communication technology professor, recently deleted his Facebook because he saw it as a distraction. He said the sharing of content on Facebook was a “double-edged sword.”

“On one hand, you are exposed to digital kind of content and different kinds of people, but on the other side it shows you content from people who you already agree with,” Altenhofen said. “We tend to like and agree and share stories that we agree with and find interesting, therefore the algorithms are going to make those more popular on our news feed. It doesn’t necessarily help with the diversity
of information.”

John O’Hearne, senior telecommunication media studies major, said although he checks his Facebook four or five times a day, he would prefer not to use it as much. He said Facebook has become an integral part of his social life and that there was a general expectation to maintain a profile.

“Facebook is so much a part of who we are and more of what we’re supposed to be,” O’Hearne said. “I don’t think you can deny just how much, like, if you take photo, that photo better be on Facebook. If you meet somebody, you will become Facebook friends with them. If you join an organization, you’re expected to join that Facebook group. If something new comes out on Facebook — it’s always a part of your social life. You’re going to be connected to it.”

Halsey said Facebook was useful in shaping social interactions. She said she felt like “making your friendship public” was an aspect of Facebook that was more obvious.

“A lot of the big thing now is posting BuzzFeed posts and posts kind of inside jokes, but make them public, so everyone knows you have inside jokes,” Halsey said.

O’Hearne said, “everything has its time,” but he didn’t feel other social media sites such as Twitter would eclipse Facebook.

“It’s something you do every day — you brush your teeth, you floss, you shower, you get on Facebook,” O’Hearne said. “Whatever is living in the social media world — Facebook definitely has a hold.”

 

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