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10 Years of Facebook & Its Influence on Social Media

“…People often ask if I always knew that Facebook would become what it is today. No way.

I remember getting pizza with my friends one night in college shortly after opening Facebook. I told them I was excited to help connect our school community, but one day someone needed to connect the whole world.

I always thought this was important — giving people the power to share and stay connected, empowering people to build their own communities themselves.

When I reflect on the last 10 years, one question I ask myself is: why were we the ones to build this? We were just students. We had way fewer resources than big companies. If they had focused on this problem, they could have done it.

The only answer I can think of is: we just cared more.

While some doubted that connecting the world was actually important, we were building. While others doubted that this would be sustainable, you were forming lasting connections.

We just cared more about connecting the world than anyone else. And we still do today.”

Above are the words of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It’s been 10 years since his dorm room project came to life. And what a decade it has been! We’ve witnessed tremendous growth, transformations, impact, business capabilities and even an IPO. But, as anyone knows that has even somewhat followed the social giant, the past decade hasn’t just been a bed of roses. There have been challenges and backlashes along the way including privacy concerns, competitors, legal issues, financial alarms and more.

Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg

But, 10 years in, Facebook is a successful, global company that has had a tremendous impact on all society. We would be here a very long time if we went back through all the Facebook milestones and the effect they have had on both the company and overall culture. But, we do want to take a little time to reflect on the big picture of Facebook in the past decade, and more importantly social media and the role it has played.

To do this, let’s back up. In 2004, when Facebook was built, what was your social media life like? At this point in time, MySpace was a big deal, forums were hot, instant messaging platforms such as ICQ were all the rave and Friendster was a means to connect with people online whom you already in the offline world. Other platforms such as Orkut, LinkedIn, and Classmates, among others, existed as well, but the social evolution that we now are familiar with was not present. It was then that blogging really started taking off too.

For me, I remember being in college and getting asked if I had Facebook from a few of my friends from other colleges and universities. I had no idea what it was. But, when it became available to my university, I readily signed up. Funny thing, I remember it blowing up across campus to the extent that there were rumors the president was going to ban it. I was part of the on campus news station, and in covering the event, the overall student response was: “My life would be over if they take Facebook away.” I wonder how many people view Facebook in this same way today…

As Facebook began to grow among the college crowd, it then expanded to include high schoolers, and shortly after, everyone. Although this move took the social network to the next level, Charlene Li from research firm Altimeter Group tells CNET it was “counter-intuitive.”

“If [Zuckerberg] had asked users, “What do you want?,” they would have never said “Add my parents,” she said.

She’s right, but we know now that it was successful for the company that now has more than 1.25 billion users and a reported $2.59 billion in revenue this past quarter. However, beyond this, I think it’s fair to say that social media would not be what it is today if Facebook were not a factor. Like it or not, Facebook has largely influenced the overall social media marketplace. Think about how social we are in everything we do from shopping to cooking to sharing opinions to conducting business and the list goes on and on. Though some would say, if Facebook hadn’t come around, something else would have. While this may be true, the circumstances would still be different. For instance, would MySpace have remained a leader? Whether it did or didn’t, would the road have still been paved for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and others to enter the social space?

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Though history does not allow us to answer this question, it is clear that Facebook has been very formative in molding social media as we currently know it.

Now, the question becomes, where will it take us next?

“…I’m even more excited about the next ten years than the last. The first ten years were about bootstrapping this network. Now we have the resources to help people across the world solve even bigger and more important problems.

Today, only one-third of the world’s population has access to the internet. In the next decade, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to connect the other two-thirds.

Today, social networks are mostly about sharing moments. In the next decade, they’ll also help you answer questions and solve complex problems.

Today, we have only a few ways to share our experiences. In the next decade, technology will enable us to create many more ways to capture and communicate new kinds of experiences.”

Zuckerberg does not give us any exact information on the next 10 years of Facebook in his above post, but he does indicate that it will become smarter and create new experiences. Hopefully, the social network will continue to grow and transform the way consumers act and think. It’s already helped develop an industry that not only connects a large portion of the world and provides a very valuable tool for businesses, but it also has created a whole new job market.

There have been many headlines declaring that the younger generation was abandoning the site, but new research from Pew shows that 73 percent of children ages 12-17 are Facebook users. So, while Facebook doesn’t appear to be going anywhere but up, it is possible that it could diminish in value at some point. IF this were to happen, the impact is has will still be felt, which is an awesome concept. The way people communicate, react, think, and ultimately, live has been revolutionized in the last decade, all thanks to the influx of social media and led largely by Facebook. Will the next 10 years hold as many changes? We’ll see, but I, for one, am so excited to see where it takes us.

How has Facebook impacted you? Does it play a large role in your life? Has Facebook changed the way you communicate? Could you live without it? Is there a particular event in which Facebook changed your life for the better or worse?

Images courtesy of Facebook.

Social Media & 2014: Early Indicators of Coming Trends

 

What's trending?

It’s not even Halloween yet and speculation about social media in 2014 is already starting. While it may seem early, it’s actually rather beneficial before the busy holiday season ascends on us. Thinking about these issues now will actually help you better prepare your strategy for the upcoming year.

Where will social media go in 2014?

It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Although we’re not going to delve into it completely, thinking about the new year and what trends it will bring naturally leads us to look at 2013. This year has been an exciting year for social media as it has brought many new developments and trends.

One such trend relates to images and photo-sharing applications. This area has absolutely exploded throughout 2013. In fact, a recent study from Socialbakers found that photos make up 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook:

Photos Most Shared

No doubt as a result of this trend, Facebook also began allowing users to embed photos into comments. Another likely result of the rise in images is the dramatic growth surge in applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, and, of course, Pinterest. The most popular pinning board also just made an announcement regarding “promoted pins” that shows it is serious about becoming profitable.

Another trend that has occurred this year has been the decline of daily deal sites. A few years ago, these were all the rave, but the fad has steadily weakened as market leaders Groupon and Living Social continue to struggle from a financial standpoint.

On the positive side, LinkedIn has had an exceptional year after making several announcements that puts it at an even better position among social networks.

We can’t talk about social media without talking about Facebook and Twitter, both of which have rolled out new features and thus setting themselves up to see even more growth. Twitter, in particular, recently tweeted out news that it had filed its S-1 to the SEC for its initial public offering, which means there will be a lot more to come in this regard.

While these events in no way cover all that has happened in 2013, they do help to lead us into thinking about what 2014 may bring.

For starters, we’ll have to watch Google+ closely. The search and advertising giant’s social network has experienced significant growth over the last year. Granted, Google is essentially automatically opting any user with a Google account into its social effort. Still, because it’s Google and the fact that the company is linking it to virtually all its properties, we sort of have to take it seriously. The fact that Google just linked YouTube’s new commenting system to Google+ only reinforces this idea.

Secondly, it appears that check-in services such as Foursquare may be on the decline. While these services may not completely go away, they do not seem as relevant as they once did. What’s more, they don’t offer much to marketers.

Thirdly, it appears that the image trend will continue throughout 2014. Consumers today are so visual that they essentially expect images when they’re searching, to read a story, etc. Going right along with this, the short video services such as Vine and Instagram’s video offering will likely grow too. Users today are busy and therefore want to gather information as quickly as possible. In 2014, I think we’ll see more marketers using these tools to reach their audience.

Furthermore, we will likely see Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn grow and develop toward a new level of maturity. With all three companies being public in 2014, they have no choice but to appease stockholders with valuable products, which in turn, works greatly in the favor of marketers.

As these changes and trends begin to unfold, the importance of social media will drastically increase. If companies fail to get on board, their marketing efforts will fall noticeably short. Social media is simply becoming more engrained into society both on a personal and business level making it a must-have for any business that wants to be successful.

Images courtesy of Thinkhandy and Socialbakers respectively.