Home > Uncategorized > The Power of Facebook

The Power of Facebook

I joined Facebook in late June, 2008.  Two months and 184 friends later, I am shocked and amazed at the power of this site.  It presents a profoundly different way to interact with people, and in many ways delivers on early predictions for what the Internet would become.

I worked in the Bay Area during the mid-1990s, which was a magical time, kind of like the Golden Age of the Internet.  It was an anything-goes period, limited only by bandwidth and graphics technology.  Example: I remember talking to a reporter from the then-titled “PC Week,” now “eWeek,” and asking her if, instead of gathering reporters for a press conference, she thought it would be viable to instead participate in a hairbrained idea we had called a “Web-cast” which would transmit the information by video over the Internet.  She said the idea was interesting, but her office didn’t have the bandwidth to support it, so it would be impossible to participate and therefore a flop.  We scrapped the idea.

Back then, we’d write about what the Internet would become, with “every home having a home page” and the power of Internet commerce, and networks being the computer.  However, the networks we were talking about were centered on ethernet, not social networks.  Through social networking, Facebook has allowed the “every home a home page” vision to become a reality – but it essentially skipped over the “home” part and went straight for everyone in the home.

As someone who entered the work force before the Internet, this has resulted in a very weird feeling for me, sort of “Facebook Vertigo.”  That’s the feeling of long-forgotten memories flooding back into your brain after being approached by old friends who want to get back in touch.  It’s disorienting, and has happened to me quite frequently over the past couple of months.  But I love the ability to stay in touch so easily, so the feeling of momentary disorientation is definitely worth it.

But the most amazing thing to me is that high schoolers right now, and even my preschool-age kids, may never experience the concept of “getting back in touch” with people.  From the time they assign someone “Friend” status, they will forever be in touch, because they’ve built a network that allows for communication at a glance, in a way that’s more passive, more informative and much more content-rich than email.

From a financial perspective, Facebook is still “wait-and-see” as to whether it will be a profitable venture.  The new interface they’ve launched is more cumbersome than the previous version, and it’s possible that users will tire of it, fracture and choose something new, causing the base to erode.  But as of right now, what this thing could become is staggering.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. August 14, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    I’m one of those people who have shied away from adding applications to my Facebook account because I remember when Facebook was like a ren… Computer Network

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: