Facebook turns 12 today – which means for most of us there really was a life before it, however it feels sometimes – and it is celebrating users’ friendships to mark the event.
For what the site has dubbed Friends Day, each will see a custom video that celebrates their own lives and friendships popping up at the top of their News Feed, which only they can see unless they choose to share it on their timeline. You can also view your own by clicking ‘watch yours’ at the bottom of a friend’s video.
I’ve seen mine and it’s nicely done – good choice of friends (social interaction data) as well as some pictures that got a good number of likes and comments (most popular data), overlaid with comments from them and a scrolling screen of friends wishing me happy birthday and other nice things in the past.
So, it’s cute, and I don’t doubt that my timeline will be awash with them as more and more of my friends log on through the course of the day.
But what else is the video really telling us? How much time we spend on the network, for one – and just how many important and significant moments are posted or celebrated there.
It’s also a reminder of how pervasive it has become in just over a decade – I have only a handful of friends not on there, and for many, particularly those living abroad, it’s my sole point of contact with them, and how I keep up with their lives.
There are certainly people on there who I wouldn’t be in touch with at all if it weren’t for the ease of keeping up through FB – not because I don’t like them or they’re not important, but because Facebook just makes keeping in touch so effortless once you’re connected.
And that ease of connection and sharing is obviously a huge factor in the news, announced recently, that Facebook now has 1.1 billion users a day. That’s a huge, huge number – something like one in every 9 people on the planet.
Speaking about why it was celebrating users on Friends Day, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said: “That’s what the best movements do. You find ways to keep it focused on the needs of the community, and it’s not about you.
“And that’s the whole point of Friends Day. We felt like the world was making it too much about us and it’s not about us.”
In actual fact, Facebook couldn’t be more about you, or me, or all of our friends – because our data and our use makes it what it is, end of.
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