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Facebook is 11, Will it Reach 20?

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Facebook!

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On February 4th, 2004 Mark Zuckerberg took Facebook (then called ‘Thefacebook’) live for the very first time. Since then, the site has transcended any previous social media tool and become the single most accessed website on the internet, serving 1.23 billion users every single day. Opinions are still split about whether or not the website will survive much longer.

On the one hand, the growth can’t carry on at this rate, there simply aren’t enough computers and/or people on the planet to substantiate it, but on the other, Facebook has plenty of other avenues left to expand and explore, such as find ways to extend the reach of the internet further than ever before.

In terms of youth appeal, Facebook is definitely on its way out, and while that was a death-sentence for Myspace and Bebo, the natural migration of young people towards more simplified, streamlined trends (Snapchat, Instagram, Tinder), Facebook’s usership is far too large and diverse for that to really matter. Some of Facebook’s most menial, obvious aspects are the ones which save it from irrelevance in that regard. Other apps and sites might be better mapped to status updates, photography and video sharing but nowhere is better than Facebook as far as keeping track of events and detailed news feeds. Twitter might be a more up-to-date source, but Facebook’s news and media updates are more detailed and put much more information in front of you.

Perhaps, at this stage, it isn't really about growth or migration though. Since nobody is going to compete with Facebook, perhaps the more pertinent question is how will it deal with the increasing unpopularity of its chief platform: the computer. Facebook mobile has been a thing for almost as long as smartphones have and it’s fast becoming the more prevalent platform for users, especially people who use Facebook every day. Supporting this notion is the appearance of Facebook’s latest app: Paper.

facebook.com

Released in the US on the 3rd of February, Paper is geared towards streamlining Facebook’s news feed into a coherent, easy to digest format that’s uncluttered by the rest of the site’s aspects. The feed it provides is custom and tailors itself to the interests of the user, both by way of customisation options and general information taken from their full profile. That’s the real sticking point, we've reached a time where people can access news tailored specifically to their needs and interests, rather than having to sift through it manually and Facebook got there first. The more information you can access readily without need for further clicking or tapping, the better. Another neat feature it offers is the ability to view a panorama by tilting the phone/tablet up, down, left or right.

Facebook as a company is at the forefront of an initiative to make the internet something universal, transcendent and always with you. Between their research into drones, their expansion into growth markets, their Internet.org initiative and their acquisition of the Oculus VR system, they are taking it beyond the out-dated concept of website browsing. Will Facebook still be with us in its current guise in another decade? Absolutely not, but then neither will the internet, it will have become something larger and more omnipresent and the advancements being made by Facebook are on the frontier of that movement.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook is 11, Will it Reach 20? Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, February 05, 2015 Rating: 5
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