The Ever Changing Face of Facebook
WITHOUT realising it at the time, Facebook played a real role in my college experience. The Facebook phenomenon started to get popular in Ireland around 2008/2009 when I was in the first year of my undergrad. It helped me organise parties, plan nights out, procrastinate, play games and chat to people. It was a place of great entertainment through stalking, fraping, Farmville, Cartaxi and liking pages.
In 2004, Zuckerberg started writing software for the Facemash website – now better know as Facebook – when he was in his second year of college. The website was set up as a type of ‘hot or not’ for Harvard students. The website allowed visitors to compare two student pictures side-by-side and let them choose who was hot and who was not. Not so much different as what my classmates were doing but we called it ‘stalking’ and ‘creeping’. Facebook took up a lot of our time, so much so there was a library worker nicknamed ‘Libo-cop’. When he caught us on Facebook on a college computer, you knew it was game over and you had to log out. In the beginning Facebook appealed to a lot of college students and 20-somethings. Now Facebook is a different place. Instead of 100 trillion photographs for us to stalk and judge over after a night out there is just one selfie uploaded per night out. And it’s one that has been strategically posed, staged, filtered and cropped complete with emoji.
Facebook is no longer a place where Generation Y bears all uncensored. Gone are the days of the checking into warm and comfy beds or X-Factor and curry night with my girls statuses (kind of happy about this if I’m honest).Why have we started to detach ourselves from pouring our lives out over Facebook? It’s all been said and done over and over. The audience has matured. We have learned our lesson. We have been the guinea pigs – the first generation to grow up with social media and it’s safe to say we have all made mistakes. Uploading drunken photos only for our employers/potential employers seeing them. We have all been there.
The turning point for me on Facebook was when my manager added me on Facebook, another one was when my parents did. I started to mature (eventually) and began to care about what I put up on Facebook – that it just wasn’t a joke with my mates anymore. Our audience and friend list shifted to not just something from our old school mates, college buddies and people we have scored. Now our colleagues, parents, aunts and uncles were on Facebook. What does that mean? The more folks our parent’s age that are hopping on the Facebook wagon, the more generation Y and Z are dropping off. Where are they going? My guess is Snapchat and Whatsapp. Why? Its acceptable to behave like we used to. We can flirt a little, have the craic, talk about the mundane with just the people we want to without leaving a permalink which may come back to haunt us. It makes me wonder if Facebook is going to be something for an older generation?
I can’t see Generation Z wanting to join it if their mums and dads are on it. Zuckerberg knew what he was doing when he bought Whatsapp for $19 billion. I can’t see Facebook going anywhere soon but I do think there will be more of a facelift for the site. With the rise of other apps and websites for us to communicate on, Facebook isn’t just the big fish in a little pond anymore.
Photos c/o nytimes.com, news.yahoo.com