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10 Years with Facebook: How We’ve Grown and Changed

It’s unreal to think that social media powerhouse Facebook is turning 10 years old. 10 years ago, I was about to start high school back home. At that time, Facebook was solely meant for college students. It was in 2006 (in the early part of my high school years) that Facebook announced that it would soon allow everyone to join. At the time, college students were frustrated that young high school kids would be allowed on the same site they were allowed on.

Screenshot of thefacebook in 2004
Facebook in 2004. Image via sharaholic.com

However, eager young high schoolers were anxious to start building their online profiles. Students started to add each other, find friends from middle and elementary schools, and the era of Facebook started to boom. “Do you have a Facebook yet?” was the hot topic. 

In 2014, the real question is who doesn’t have a Facebook? It seems as though everyone does. Facebook  exploded into an integral part of our lives. People have Facebook accounts for themselves, their pets, and have taught their parents and grandparents how to use the site. Our lives have morphed into an online presence of ourselves…all on one site. 

When I was in high school, the popularity of Facebook was still growing. People didn’t have thousands of friends like they do now. Students added people they were friends with, and wrote on each others “walls.” (that concept seems to be lost now that status updates are wall posts have blended into one). Status updates had a mandatory “is” that people tried to cleverly work around. People put up albums of every occasion, with album titles that were listed an inside jokes. I had photos up of slumber parties, track meets, and pictures I snuck with

Screenshot of Facebook Chat 2008
Facebook Chat was introduced to much excitement in 2008

a digital camera in the middle of class. Tagged photos also did not reach the thousands, like they have today. Liking photos didn’t exist. Rather, you could only comment. Kids my age were just starting to get smartphones, meaning they could access Facebook in the middle of class.  Facebook chat was also introduced in 2008, which felt like a major replacement to AIM and iChat. Through greater accessibility to the app, Facebook started to become integrated into our lives. 

Numbers of photos and "friends" have accumulated over the years of having a Facebook account.
Numbers of photos and “friends” have accumulated over the years of having a Facebook account.

In college, Facebook chat had become the norm, and Facebook was a great social tool to connect people. Groups like Syracuse University Class of 2013 became a major way people initially started to talk to each other before moving into a residence hall. People would create events for parties and invite their friends; it was the fastest way to reach a large group of people at once. Students posted updates about wanting to go to to dining halls or sporting events together. Facebook became a method to form social plans, as well as remember them through various albums. The growth throughout college was documented through posted photos of each year of school and wall posts with “texts from last night” and other inside jokes. Checking Facebook several times throughout the day kept us connected.  

In graduate school, people have started to grow up and leave the world of constantly checking Facebook for those pictures or status updates of people needing a buddy to go the game with them. People got married, had kids, got real jobs, and posted statuses about moving for the first time. Facebook statuses were no longer about how hungover they were, but rather about mundane and “adult” topics like the weather or about how stressful their morning commute is. We are no longer in a time when every social event must be documented. Rather, we look at each others profiles to see “how we all turned out.” Where is this person living? Did they get a job yet? Are they still dating the same person they dated in college? Facebook has become an observant tool rather than an oversharing opportunity. 

Teens with a Facbook logo -- the o's replaced by Instagram logo cameras
Kids have gravitated to Instagram…which Facebook purchased for $1B in 2012.

But high schoolers now aren’t using Facebook the way I did. Facebook is no longer a new and exciting concept. Rather, it is an overused social media tool. People in this cohort use Instagram to share their ideas through screenshots of notepad to express their feelings. Comments left on Instagram photos have replaced the need for a Facebook status. ABC News reports that teenagers are leaving Facebook and gravitating towards social networks like Snapchat and Tumblr. Other messaging apps like Kik and WhatsApp have compelled teens to steer away from Facebook. 

Facebook is constantly introducing new features, like Twitter's trending topics.
Facebook is constantly introducing new features, like Twitter’s trending topics.

Who knows where the future of Facebook lies. It’s evident now that Facebook doesn’t have as much to offer people as it used to. Younger kids have found other social networks to replace Facbook while current teenagers and young adults have grown tired of a network that has overwhelmed our generation. It seems as though Facebook’s popularity is now on a decline. What’s the next big thing? That’s anyone’s guess.

When did you join Facebook? Has your involvement in Facebook changed since you joined? Let us know in the comments below! 

Anne Marie Suchanek

Anne Marie Suchanek

Hi, I'm Anne Marie and I’m a two-time graduate of the iSchool. I received my B.S. in Information Management and Technology in 2013, and then stayed with the iSchool to earn my M.S. in Information Management in 2014 through the Fast Track program. I'm currently working as a Program Manager at Microsoft in Seattle, WA.

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