Ten years ago, I was 12. I’ll say it again: Facebook launched when I was 12.
No Twitter, no Instagram, no Google+, no Vine – hell, there was barely any Internet compared to today’s standards. I used Windows 98 on a gigantic PC in my parents’ spare room. I knew our dial-up screech by heart.
When a tech company hits the double-digits, does that mean it’s successful? So many start-ups and social networks bite the dust quickly after their .02 seconds of fame. Facebook has bucked the trend and gobbled up, cannibalized, and actually created some truly amazing innovations.
It’s beyond a major player in Silicon Valley, and of course it’s big. But I didn’t know how big until 2010 when I studied abroad in Italy – and Facebook was only six-years-old. Taking a minute to adjust my backpack on a dusty bench in a backwater town known only as a connection between trains, I heard the word “Facebook” come out of the mouths of young children.
That moment has stuck with me, especially as that day’s snapshots reveal a large Coca-Cola sign on the station’s exterior, the only American brand advertised. Coke and Facebook, the two brands we had successfully exported to that corner of the world.
So what else has changed since the onset of Facebook? “Like” and “friend” have become verbs. Facebook advertising can be as lucrative as digital advertising, and new product innovations are driven through crowd-sourced feedback from status updates.
Sure, Facebook has many faults (see: collection of any and all user data, Home and algorithm changes), but it has also revolutionized how we communicate online and off, turned a programmer into a global celebrity and billionaire, created the truly gorgeous new app Paper, supported Instagram’s successful launch into paid advertising, and has the visionary Sheryl Sandberg as #2. Plus, it’s the platform no one can beat even as its demise has been falsely reported quarter after quarter.
Menlo Park, you’re not perfect, but I’m sure glad you’re here. If you stick around to be 20, I’ll be 32 and hopefully writing a post very similar to this one.