I just realised that I have now been on Facebook for over 5 years, I hit the 5 year mark back on 13 May 2011. In computing years 5 years is a lot! And I guess I should be doing this post on Facebook “notes”. But if you are one of the few who are not on Facebook you might never see this right?
Social Networking in 2006
Social networking on the web was nothing new in 2006. If you are a geek like me then during the early 2000s you would’ve tried out ICQ, Yahoo!, MySpace, msn etc., which were the leaders of the time in terms of online social chatter. They missed one thing though, a nice clean way of sharing photos and clear organised groups of people. Sure there was flickr back then but that is more the domain of photography nerds.
From my point of view, I was always promoting DonkeyBox so having a band MySpace was must. And I had done that back in 2005. It was clean, clear and with just 4 songs on there it became the number 1 website for musicians. Then it spread through other school and university types. By 2006 the idea of social networking as we know it now was really on MySpace. Facebook were creeping up though slowly and in quite a stealthy way I have to add.
Facebook in April 2006 – A closed network
Facebook arrived at the Imperial College “network” in April 2006 and it immediately spread like wildfire. It worked only because everyone else was on it, it was simple to set up, really clean in look and feel and you could not only share photos but you could make groups as well. At that time Facebook was only available to Universities (schools were added later I think).
As it was also only available to university students, you had to have a university email to register. Not only that but it was a closed network. That is no one outside Imperial could view your profile or posts, there were no global groups, they were all within the Imperial network only. This meant that Facebook acted like an internal college directory/social network.
The Networks open up to each other
As the networks at each university grew bit by bit internally and separately, Facebook announced a big move. Globalising Facebook and introducing global groups. This caused a huge outrage as students felt that their privacy was at stake. Some though (like me) loved the idea of an expanded social network.
They then opened it up to schools, a lot of the university students again thought that Facebook which was the social network of students in their late teens/early twenties was somehow going to be watered down.
And in Summer 2007, Facebook finally started appearing in mainstream press in the UK. It was now open to anyone with an email address. This was massive news. But also great disappointment to some students as they (quite rightly) thought their privacy was at stake.
What was Facebook like before?
- It was for university students only who had a registered university email address.
- Your status update was designed for students only, there were options like “gone to class”, “sleeping”, “out playing sports”, “at a party” etc,.
- There was no mini feed at all (can you imagine that now..when mini feed first came out, students renamed Facebook to “Stalkbook”)
- You could poke anyone.
- There were no Facebook pages and applications (no annoying vampire games), it really was very simple and clean.
- All networks were internal, there were no city networks like “London” that we have now.
And probably a lot of other things. Thanks to Facebook my band has grown its following, I have actually met people from other parts of the world and let’s face it…I have wasted a few hundred hours on it! So, enough of that.
In summary, Facebook has expanded and continues to do so. At each stage in its expansion it relaxes its privacy that little bit more.