How much time do you think you spend on Facebook every day? 10 minutes? 1 hour? 5 hours? According to a Q1 earnings report from Facebook in 2016, on average, users across the world spend more than 50 minutes per day on Facebook’s various apps including Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself. This comes out to about twenty-five hours every month and three hundred hours every year. Facebook has turned into an all-encompassing platform that provides value in several different avenues.
If I were to ask friends what they use Facebook for, the first thing that would come to their mind would be to catch up with friends. People like to see pictures of their friends, what they are up to, watch videos that they post, and see the content that they put out. In The Social Network, the character that plays Mark Zuckerberg says:
“People want to go on the Internet and check out their friends. Why not build a website that offers that? Friends, pictures, profiles, whatever you can…visit, browse around, maybe it’s somebody you just met a party. I’m not talking about a dating site. I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.”
To say that Facebook has evolved over the years would be a colossal understatement. Here are some ways I’ve found my own unique way of taking advantage of Facebook and I am sure many of you can relate to some of these uses.
Finding a College Roommate
I know I can speak for myself as well as siblings, roommates, friends, etc. when I say that Facebook was an invaluable tool in helping me find a roommate for college. It is amazing how much you can learn about someone simply by going through his or her Facebook page. You are able to see their interests, where they are from, and other important factors to help make the decision if this is the stranger you would like to share a room with for your freshman year of college. I have many friends who found their freshman roommate using Facebook and still live with that very same roommate four years later. Although this is just a small fraction of what Facebook can be used for, it just goes to show how big of an impact the site can have in real life.
What better way to reach out to a massive group of people, especially the younger generation than Facebook? By creating an event using the Facebook platform, it makes it easier than ever to invite hundreds and even thousands to an event, post updates, and see who can and cannot attend. This is a space I think has a lot of opportunity in the future. With so many people using Facebook to run events, I think there is a strong possibility there will be a mobile application that we use soon to RSVP to events. Companies could run promotions for people that say they are attending on the event page including discounts, special offers, and free items. Many companies have tried to create an app like this but have yet to succeed. It will be intzeresting to see where this space goes in the coming years.
Selling an Item
Why has the idea behind selling something on Facebook become more reliable as compared to Craigslist? The answer would be that when you sell an item on Facebook, you can tell whether you have mutual friends, see a picture of the buyer, and have access to necessary information if something were to ever happen. On Craigslist, you simply have an e-mail address and are forced to meet in person with essentially a stranger off the street. In my own experience, I have sold everything from a GPS system to my first car on Facebook. That’s right, I sold the car I drove throughout high school using my Facebook page using the local “Free and for sale page.” I have sold items on Craigslist before and something about the process of selling it on Facebook made it feel easier and made me feel more comfortable throughout the selling process. In fact, the buyer knew one of my cousins which made it all that much more simpler for me to trust this individual. This type of connection NEVER would have happened had I used Craigslist.
Here’s a secret that I’m sure many of you can identify with: I’ve had to look up my family and friends’ birthdays using Facebook. How am I supposed to remember every single birthday? It is so much easier for me to just use my phone to check out the events tab on Facebook and see who has birthday is soon. This makes my life so much better and I always have a solution to fall back on if I forget the date
Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg. You’ve made my life incredibly easier.