Posted February 4, 2014 3:25 pm by with 2 comments

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Facebook birthday sorryIn honor of Facebook’s 10th anniversary, I conducted my own (totally unscientific) study and the results were startling.

On average, the average person hears or sees the word Facebook 123.5 times a day. (Disclaimer: I totally just made that number up.)

Pew Research says that 57% of all adults are on Facebook and 64% use the site daily, which is up from 51% in 2010. But that’s not the whole story. My family isn’t all that computer savvy and yet, in any given day, someone utters the word at least once. My husband mentions a new David Bowie photo that he saw in a group on Facebook. My mother says she found out that Susie had a baby because someone else saw the photos on Facebook. My friend and I are talking, we want to ask a third friend a question so she says, “let me see if she’s on Facebook.”

And that doesn’t even begin to cover all the Facebook buttons I see on the internet and the Facebook posts that are linked to Twitter Tweets.

Here’s a funny fact from Pew (this one’s real):

Among internet users who do not use Facebook themselves, 52% say that someone else in their household has a Facebook account. In many instances, these may be parents who do not use Facebook but live with a child who does. Fully 66% of parents with a child living at home who do not use Facebook themselves say that someone in their household has a Facebook account.

In addition, some 24% of Facebook non-adopters who live with an account holder say that they look at photos or posts on that person’s account.

I call that Facebook by proxy.

And to think it all started in college over pizza.

Mark Zuckerberg posted a reflective message on his timeline today. Here’s an excerpt:

When I reflect on the last 10 years, one question I ask myself is: why were we the ones to build this? We were just students. We had way fewer resources than big companies. If they had focused on this problem, they could have done it.

The only answer I can think of is: we just cared more.

While some doubted that connecting the world was actually important, we were building. While others doubted that this would be sustainable, you were forming lasting connections.

We just cared more about connecting the world than anyone else. And we still do today.

We all have a tendency to mock Facebook for its seemingly random changes. We grumble about privacy issues and commercialism, but I do believe Zuckerberg when he says helping people connect was and still is their number one goal. I personally know people whose lives have been enriched because of Facebook. One has formed a solid new friendship with an old school chum. Another met a person in another country which led to an amazing cultural exchange. And through Facebook, I’m able to virtually visit with my family on the other side of the US.

The one thing Facebook does well is deliver minutiae. When something big happens, I get an email. But I feel closer to my family and friends when they post mundane photos of a meal they cooked, their cat playing hide and seek or a new dress they bought. That’s how we stay connected.

Happy birthday, Facebook. I don’t say this often but I’m kinda glad you’re here.


  • Great post on the all pervasive influence of Facebook. However, it is interesting to see how people construct their own memories of a situation and then believe it. When Facebook started 10 years ago it was not a public facing entity. It was an internal system for Ivy League universities to begin with, expanding to other universities over the next few years. Indeed, prior to starting life 10 years ago as Facebook Inc (which is what we are really celebrating) it was a website which was initially devoted to rating the facial images of other students – a sort of “who is the most fanciable person” system. To therefore suggest, as Mark Zuckerberg does, that he cared more about the connecting of individuals around the world than corporates did is what could best be described as selective memory. However, if we keep telling ourselves our constructed memories enough, after as long as a decade they become “our truth”. Our brain recalls our constructed memory rather than the actual memory. Facebook did not actually come out of the private world of top universities into the global marketplace until almost three years after the company began. Facebook as we know it isn’t really 10; it is only just 7. So we can expect another 10th Birthday bonanza in 2016, ten years after it actually opened its doors to global communication.

    • cynthialil

      I understand where you’re coming from and believe me, I’m not a huge fan of Facebook as a whole. I also rarely believe the company line from any company. But in this case, I think that most of what Facebook implements is designed to help people communicate and share their thoughts. We are only talking about the corporate version, what it was prior doesn’t matter because this is what it’s become. Am I saying Zuckerberg does this out of the goodness of his heart, no. But I think there are a lot of sites that oddly, don’t put customer needs first (MySpace) and look what happens.