Facebook recently celebrated its fifth anniversary as the most popular social networking site in the world with more than 110 million users.
I remember when I first heard of Facebook as a university student. Since then, my usage of the site has changed as my needs have changed, and I think that this flexibility is what makes Facebook attractive to so many people. From classmates to co-workers to grandmas, people have found that Facebook is an easy way to keep in touch, plan an event, join a cause, or just poke someone.
In “Five Years of Facebook“, Scott Simon talked with Andy Carvin, NPR Social Media Strategist, about how the site got started and how social networking has changed how people use the internet.
“If you do practically anything in the public sphere, you need some kind of presence on Facebook. [...] it’s expected of you to go into that community because it is such a large community. You ignore Facebook at your own peril.”
This quote struck me in two ways. First, since it is becoming expected for people to be on Facebook, that also means that more and more people have profiles, photos, and other information that may be viewable by employers. So while Carvin says that “you ignore Facebook at your own peril”, keep in mind that using Facebook is at your own risk as well.
Second, if you are a professional writer who deals with web design, online communications, or public relations, for example, you will likely be asked by prospective employers what you know about Facebook. This is because Facebook is now an important tool for businesses and organizations and you may be writing and designing for social media strategies that involve it or other social networking tools like Twitter.
If you would like to see how the design of the site has evolved over the years, check out the retrospective slideshow Facebook put together for the occasion. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with social networking and Facebook in the next five years.