Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004. Now, 13 years later, Facebook looks very different than it did when it started!

How did Facebook start?

Facebook was originally created just for Harvard University and was called “the facebook” where it only allowed Harvard University students to be members.  About a month after the initial launch the facebook expanded to Columbia, Stamford, and Yale.

After this move, the facebook launched to all Ivy League Universities and also Boston University, New York University, and MIT.  Eventually, it would launch to all universities in the United States and Canada.  But still, access was restricted to only college students.

At this point, the facebook did not have any gloss that the current Facebook has.  There was no “liking” or “commenting” or “sharing.” The facebook was strictly a way for people to connect with one another.

How I started using Facebook

When I first joined Facebook in 2010 I had to give myself a fake birthday because at the time you could only join Facebook if you were 18 years or older.

In 2010 Facebook was still being used as a way to connect with friends and family who did not live near you. The photo features were still there but there was no such thing as video or the Facebook application for mobile phones.

What is Facebook now?

Facebook has evolved into so much more. It is now more than just a social connection website, it is more like a search engine.

You can log on to Facebook and discover places, restaurants, news you can shop through Facebook; Facebook will even generate advertisements that connect you to websites you have searched before.

As political change has occurred Facebook has kept up to speed with it.  When gay marriage became legal Facebook allowed you to make your relationship status with someone of the same gender. As transgender rights became better known, Facebook came out with over 20 different types of options to put in for gender.

Asking an iSchool student about the evolution of Facebook

I asked Dayna Gelman, a junior in the iSchool her thoughts are the evolution of Facebook. How does she believe Facebook has evolved from when they first created a profile to today?

Dayna Gelman

Dayna Gelman ’18

How is Facebook different from when you started at the iSchool?

Dayna responded, “ Four years ago I was a junior in high school, and although social media was very popular in 2013, I didn’t use Facebook then nearly as much as I do now. Since being in college, I’ve used Facebook more because it has become a tool for expressing and showcasing different experiences while in college through photos, videos, and status updates.”

Is Facebook still relevant in 2017?

When asked about Facebook’s place in society Dayna explained, “I think Facebook is still very much important and relevant. New social media platforms have risen and taken off, but I don’t think anything will ever truly replace Facebook. Facebook offers too many services for people for it to be left behind.”

Since you’ve been at the iSchool, do you now see of Facebook in a different light?

From being a student at the iSchool and learning about different technology companies and security and privacy Dayna said: “ I definitely pay more attention to my privacy settings, updates to the privacy settings when they occur and think twice before posting information. But, I wouldn’t say I use Facebook differently, I would say I’m just more aware of a lot of the backhand things.”

What’s Facebook’s biggest challenge in the future?

When asked what she believes Facebook’s biggest challenge will be moving forward she talked about how their biggest challenge will be staying innovative and competitive with their competition.  She said that she does not believe Facebook will lose existing users, but they may stop gaining new ones.

I agree with Dayna’s last point.  When talking with younger generations, they do not have the same interest in joining Facebook as they do with joining Instagram or Snapchat.

I will take a look at all of the major social media platforms and dive into how they have transformed since their launch and where they could go in the future.