After having a Facebook account since it’s birth back in 2004, I’ve experienced first hand it’s evolution and integration into our everyday lives. And it’s kind of funny to think back to when people were just starting to hear about what it was.
I was visiting a friend in Chicago over break who’s friend from the University of Iowa introduced us to the site. She showed us how you could look people up at your school, see who their friends were, what classes they were taking, etc. Fascinating! It was like a more exclusive, mature, and less spammy looking version of MySpace.
It was an exciting day when Marquette was included in the network. (Because back then, your school had to get approved by the Facebook team which left many schools out for a while.)
The layout of the site has had too many makeovers to keep count. Remember the days when you had the ability to edit a friend’s entire wall? It was more like a whiteboard. If you wanted, you could erase and put anything you wanted in that space. And how annoying would it be when someone actually did that? You would get e-mails saying something like, “Someone has updated your wall.”
Or how about when status updates were introduced? I remember resisting them because I thought the idea of letting people know what I was doing was “too stalkerish.” That didn’t last long.
It wasn’t until the photo sharing tool, in my opinion, totally changed the game of Facebook. I was excited I could get rid of all my Web Shots albums and be able to upload my pictures into one place. And when “tagging” photos was integrated, I think that was when Facebook really grew on the social end. It was exciting to share photos and experiences with friends back home in Minnesota.
For all of you who have been on Facebook as long as I have, how weird was it to start seeing your professors with accounts? I think that was the first time I started to realize that I whatever I posted could have a real influence – in a good or bad way. I couldn’t help but think, “Okay, is this something I’d want my professor to read?”
And talk about the social dilemmas that started to form. Suddenly there was proof online of what people did on the weekends. You could visually see who people hung out with and what they did on their own time. The effects were positive and negative for some. I remember hearing about friends breaking up or getting into fights with one another because of something posted on Facebook and thinking that was just ridiculous. How could you let some online procrastination tool get into the way of a relationship?
My how far Facebook has come. It has now evolved to a point where it’s weird for someone not to have a Facebook account. And now there’s chat, business fan pages, applications, real time updates, and extreme privacy settings. You can basically make Facebook whatever you want it to be.
What are your memories of Facebook from way back when? Can you remember instances when it first started to impact your social or online activity?