Facebook came into being in 2004 in a small dorm room in Harvard with the domain name thefacebook.com. Initially it was only accessible to the students at Harvard but it grew to other American Universities and in about six months time, the network had reached 1 million users. Fast forward. It’s 2014 and Facebook is now the most popular social networks out there with more than 1.2 billion users and counting. Let’s take a look at how the most popular social network today grew over the past 10 years.
2004 – 2005
As I mentioned earlier, Facebook was only limited to a few universities in its early days so it did not have a lot to offer. People used thefacebook.com for discussion on various topics and getting to know other people by adding them as friends and exchanging messages. Facebook looked like this at that time. Eventually after an investment by a venture capitalist, Peter Thiel of 500,000 USD Facebook got the domain www.facebook.com for a price of 200,000 USD thus removing the “the” from facebook making it sound much better. Facebook added the ability to upload unlimited photos and tag people in 2005 enabling users to further engage with their friends and share their best moments in them.
2006 – 2007
In 2006, Facebook introduced the news feed which allowed users to catch up with what your friends are up to. By the end of 2006, Facebook allowed signing up for the website if a person was over 13 years old and had a valid email address. Also they introduced a sharing feature which allowed users to share various stuff with their friends with a simple share button alongside posts.
In 2007, Facebook redesigned the profiles and now the status updates were done in third person. Facebook also added the ability to upload photos from mobile devices, set status updates using text messages and access the mobile site. In June 2007, users could now upload self made videos to share their moments in motion with friends and family. When 2007 was about to end, Facebook launched Pages which enabled brands to promote themselves and people becoming “Fans” of them.
2008 – 2009
In April 2008, Facebook introduced Facebook Chat which was an in browser IM Service. The iPhone was very popular in the market at that time so Facebook launched app in the App Store exclusively for iPhone. In the same month Facebook launched Wall which allowed users to write messages and stories and whatever you could think of on another friend’s wall. It was also a personalised stream about each user viewable by friends.
Facebook started of 2009 by introducing the “Like” feature. Now users could like status updates, links shared with friends and pages. The “Like” button replaced the “Become a Fan” button. Users could now create events invite their Facebook friends which made organising events easier. The homepage now showed updates from your friends in real time and people could also now tag their friends in statuses and posts.
Facebook completely redesigned the profile pages in 2010. A row appeared at the top containing photos you were recently tagged in. Also the “Like” feature was extended to the comments section. People could like each other’s comments now appreciating what they wrote. The Facebook team also developed a face recognition feature which allowed users to easily tag the photos they upload making the whole process much less time consuming.
In mid 2011, the Facebook Chat was upgraded. It now had the option of video calling from within Facebook without installing any extra software. Furthermore, people could now “Subscribe” to people’s public posts allowing users to follow their favourite celebrities without the need of adding them to their friends list. The News Feed was also improved and it had now options for arranging the feed according to either Top Stories or Most Recent posts. Near the end of the year, Facebook introduced Timeline. It completely changed the way your profile looked. Now people had a cover photo in addition to their profile pictures.
In 2012, Facebook reached a milestone. They now had a billion users active on the social networking website. Also they overhauled the Timeline and introduced a chronologically ordered profile. Users could now trace their posts as back as the day they were born even though you weren’t using it at that time. Facebook also bought Instagram, a photo-sharing social network for a whopping 1 billion USD.
In 2013, Graph Search was introduced. It allowed users to search for content using phrases rather than keywords. The feature rollout was slow but almost all of the users now able to use the feature. A few months later, Facebook introduced Home. A launcher for a few Android phones which replaced the regular homescreen with regular updates from their friends keeping users up to date. Near the end of 2013, Hashtags got support on public updates.
This new year, Facebook made an app called Paper. It’s a standalone news reader app currently available only for the devices running iOS. The news is categorised into various categories for easier reading. On 4th February Facebook celebrated its 10th Anniversary by introducing the Look Back page. Facebook has tailor made a video for each of the users retrospective of your time on Facebook. It is an amalgam of your photos and posts set to an orchestral soundtrack. Do try it once atleast. Facebook changed a lot over the years and has continuously tried to kept up with people’s changing habits. It is now the most dominant social network in the world. Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his recent blog post regarding the 10th anniversary and success of Facebook