Facebook celebrates decade of social networking

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(Graphic by Brett Ferrin)

Facebook celebrated its 10th birthday this month. The $100 billion company had quite a lot to celebrate, having made it to a milestone not many social networking sites have reached.

In the past, Google Hangouts and Myspace have tried to accomplish what Facebook has, and have not been as successful.

When it was created, Myspace hit the top of the unique Internet user charts, then Google Hangouts challenged it. Facebook emerged a year later, and within three years had more unique visitors to the site than Myspace. Today, 1.23 billion subscribed users visit Facebook at least once a month.

“Facebook has become successful due to the fact it targets all ages, not just teenagers, such as Myspace did,” said Wayne Tattersal, Weber State University junior.

Facebook has become a major advertiser as well. Companies use Facebook as a tool to communicate with their customers and offer deals. Facebook’s ad marketing works by taking users’ browser histories and profiles to match them with related products or companies.

“One thing that I love about Facebook is the opportunity that I have to stay connected with my favorite restaurants, like Buffalo Wild Wings and Red Robin, which posts special offers or contests where I can get discounted food purchases,” said WSU junior Justin Robinson.

Another thing Facebook considers part of its success is how it has followed the trend toward mobile technology needs.

Facebook officials have considered creating a cell phone or tablet, but for now create apps to help consumers stay connected.

“Facebook is a great marketing tool, but it also allows me to be easily connected with my long-distance relationships,” said Jadie Malott, WSU sophomore.

One thing users have called a negative effect of Facebook is how dependent individuals have become on this technology.

“I think that it is great to have the ability to see what is going on it the lives of people you do not see every day, but it definitely has made people more addicted and dependent on technology to stay informed rather than calling the person and actually talking to them,” said WSU junior Kiersten Sugimoto.

Tattersal said he thinks this decrease in live socialization also affects how employable Facebook users may be.

“Facebook has had a huge effect on the way people socialize,” he said. “Individuals spend a decreased amount of time with face-to-face socializing and more digital socializing, which decreases the effective communication skills that people need to develop to be successful in the work force.”

One of Facebook’s main goals is to keep people connected to their friends and informed on what is going on in their lives.

“People share all the details from their lives, the good and the bad,” said WSU senior Linda Nelson, “but Facebook is great at increasing the ability to help people stay in touch more easily.”