The Evolution of Facebook: Thanks Mark

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.”

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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.
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Planning Events
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.
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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.
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Birthday
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
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Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg. You’ve made my life incredibly easier.

5 comments

  1. Nice post Dan – I started my undergraduate before Facebook become really popular and I imagine it would have been a completely different experience if it existed on the first day of classes. It kind of became widely used in my sophomore year and it did change the way organized parties and events. It also changed the way we communicated; reduced the number of text messages. I found it interesting that you found a college roommate through Facebook – I have heard of a lot of people doing this recently.

  2. Good Post Dan – I find that I hate Facebook in the sense that I hate being on it and I hate myself for being on it, but I almost always have the tab open and I’m always on there. There really are undeniable functions that Zuckerberg has created that make it a necessary tool. For one, the birthday stuff is brilliant, that alone makes me look every day. You brought up the idea of the marketplace, and I think it is very interesting. I have never used it but you are right it seems much safer and less sketchy than Craigslist. I wonder if that business will take off even more throughout the years. Facebook has become a stable of all of our lives, and I think your post proves that.

  3. As someone whose New Year resolution is to acquire a new skill each month, I was admittedly a bit horrified to imagine what I could have learned with those 300 hours I spent on Facebook this past year (according to the average usage data in your blog post). But then, inline with the argument you present in your post, the user benefits Facebook and continual evolution of the platform proves the network’s dedication to adapting to users desire to make sure those 300 hours are well spent. Arguably, I could count learning how to create/execute a Facebook ad campaign as one of the skills learned in 2017. Ultimately, it was great to see you write your post on the powerhouse that is Facebook as I will be presenting about their dominant role in the lives of Cubans in my in-class presentation next week. Mark is a smart guy, and I’m willing to bet he has liked the “Curly Fries” page on Facebook.

  4. Facebook truly has reshaped how we interact socially. I was introduced to it in high school when it was still widely known as a college-only site. I remember being absolutely flooded with Facebook events and group pages in college (as well as the spam requests for those playing Farmville). More than ten years later and it still plays a very important part of my social life, but that role has certainly evolved as tastes and trends have changed. At the expense of being scene as too nostalgic, I’d love to see a “walk through Facebook throughout the years” to see just how much it’s changed since launch, I doubt I’d even recognize the formatting from 2006!

  5. Facebook really has simplified many aspects of my life as well! I think the event app idea you have is great because there is a huge opportunity there. Personally, Facebook events are a huge reason why I am still on FB as much as I am, with the exception of looking at pictures. Creating an app that would help event hosts relay information would really be valuable for the customer and the host. Additionally, I think the selling features are great. I have really only used it to sell my beanpot ticket but after hearing about your success I may try it out for other things! The fact that you can see mutual friends, etc. makes it a lot less sketchy than craigslist.

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