Tuesday marks the 10th anniversary of the social media site many young people know, love and use for hours on a daily basis — Facebook.
Facebook has traveled a long way from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room. Now 81 percent of its 757 million daily active users are outside of the U.S. and Canada. Facebook’s monthly users have topped 1.2 billion.
What began as just a networking tool for Harvard students eventually spread to other Ivy League schools, surrounding Boston colleges and then to several other public universities.
In 2006, all people needed to have a Facebook page was to be 13 years of age and to have an email address.
Ultimately, Facebook became the second most popular site on the web behind Google.
“It’s more inclusive,” public relations and social media assistant professor Saleem Alhabash said while comparing Facebook to other social media sites. “It is adaptable.”
Facebook is continuously updating and changing its format to keep users intrigued and to avoid slipping away to a thing of the past, such as Myspace.
One such update is Paper, a new phone application that would combine normal Facebook functions with a cleaner interface and a higher focus on news consumption.
“The site has undergone several revisions to make it really exciting for people to engage, because as humans we get bored and tired of technology the moment it becomes ritualized,” Alhabash said. “By actually updating the site, we are forced to sort of relearn how to use it over and over and it keeps us kind of plugged in.”
Although Facebook has gained a wide age range of users since its launch, it was made to keep college students connected and remains a popular site at MSU.
“I can’t think of any friends of mine that don’t have a Facebook,” social relations and policy junior Dilyn Zarb said. “It’s raised awareness and educated the public on many issues worldwide while also creating a generation that is familiar with and depends upon technology.”
However, the seemingly unlimited capabilities Facebook offers in terms of communication also becomes a form of procrastination and distraction for many of its users.
“It has opened a huge window for distraction,” journalism junior Ryan Hodges said. “It is limiting real communication against friends and family because people are simply messaging each other or going on their wall rather than calling them or talking to them in person.”
In the past 10 years, Facebook has grown exponentially and is now much more than just a social networking site. It’s a part of life, Alhabash said.
“It is an extension of how we express our emotions, of how we socialize, of how we get information and it really holds a lot of notes in our lives,” Alhabash said.