What did you do to celebrate your 10th birthday?
Dinner and a movie? A roller skating party? Or a trip to the arcade?
The best part about turning 10 is that we all had a ton of friends. Popularity levels didn’t exist yet, so by default, we were all friendly with every single one of our classmates, which depending on your school’s class size was anywhere between 15 to 25 people.
And that doesn’t include your school friends in other classes, camp friends, religious school friends, cousins, etc. We all went to town when sending out invitations for these birthdays. And of course everybody would come — what else did we have to do when were 10?
As a result, these parties in our younger years would often see some 30 people coming to celebrate with us, give us presents, and serenade us while we blow out the birthday candles. It was a day in paradise, and — though it’s sad to consider — we may never have been more popular in our life then we were in elementary school, and our 10th birthday party reflected that.
Except if you’re Facebook. Because then everybody hates you.
Facebook is like the little rich kid who has a carnival in his backyard for his 10th birthday that only three people come to. One of whom doesn’t even speak English.
In fact, it would probably be as well received as Mark Zuckerberg’s 10th birthday was. Obviously I have no idea what Zuckerberg’s 10th birthday involved, but just by looking at him, and hearing him speak, I’m going to guess that he was one of the rare unpopular 10-year-olds in the world.
But today — February 4 — is Facebook’s 10th birthday. The social networking juggernaut officially launched in early 2004, though it didn’t really become a national craze until a year later. Anyone who saw The Social Network will remember that the site began at Harvard, and then moved on to only a few select schools before expanding. In fact, the creators didn’t even purchase the domain name Facebook.com until 2005 (cue Justin Timberlake: “Drop the the … it’s cleaner.”)
The connection that I personally will always have to Facebook is that — besides those at the few select schools — I was among the first class of undergraduates to have it for all four years. When it went national in early 2005, I was winding down my final months of high school, and all of my friends told me I needed to create a Facebook account because it’s a useful way to network and meet people at your university. And they were right.
Of course, none of us had any idea at the time what it would evolve to.
A friend of mine posted a fascinating link on — what else? — Facebook yesterday of a national research center that specializes in public opinion polling and media content analysis, detailing why people use Facebook. I’m afraid to say that it’s #1 reason described my Facebook relationship to a T — “Some users dislike certain aspects of Facebook, but fear of missing out on social activities isn’t one of them.”
But love it or hate it, Facebook has certainly changed the way that we live our lives. 1.23 billion people use Facebook, and the number will continue to grow. To clarify, I think most people will be relatively indifferent towards Facebook’s 10-year milestone, but, if anything, I think upon hearing about it, the average person will say something like “Ugh, it’s been 10 freaking years already?”
Because we all know how much time we’ve wasted in our lives on Facebook. So putting any type of numerical figure to it only serves to make it more depressing.
I at least applaud Facebook for not bombarding us with any self-promoting graphics on its website, a la some type of Google Doodle. I half expected to load Facebook today and see some confetti streaming from every corner, suffocating my screen like the playing cards used to do after you won a game of Solitaire. (Who else watched the screen waiting for the entire green background to be hidden by the cards? No one? Seriously? *Slowly backs away from computer*)
But, what the hell. I’ll do it. I’ll be the one to say it.
Happy birthday, Facebook.
You fucking dick.