The rise of Facebook

Alex Mendoza

     Facebook is hard to ignore. It’s grown into one of the world’s most popular websites, with over 600 million users worldwide since its creation in 2004. According to PC World, if Facebook were its own nation, it would be one of the world’s most populated countries right behind China and India.

     On TV commercials and in magazine ads, more and more of your favorite stores and restaurants now urge customers to “find us on Facebook!” or sign up for contests through the website. The benefits are obvious. Facebook not only connects people to friends, it also streams the latest news from favorite artists, TV shows, clothing brands and more on a daily basis right on the homepage. Its rising status has even earned it a feature film which hit theaters this fall. And it all began in a small Harvard dorm room.

     The man who would eventually become a billionaire before age 25 had started Facebook as just a site for Harvard students to connect with fellow classmates. However, Mark Zuckerberg’s site soon expanded and students from other colleges began using it as well.  Gradually it grew stronger in popularity outside of schools and now stands alongside Twitter and MySpace as leading contemporaries in social networking. This staggering site has affected Cedar Park students as well.

     “I started using Facebook about three weeks ago because I needed to communicate with my peers about club information,” Lyndsey Teets, junior, said. “It was suggested to me by a lot of different people because I was hard to get ahold of.”

     Many students use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and get updates about school and gossip.

     “I think that it’s given people a quick way to spread information and helps get work out quicker,” Teets said.

     With MySpace being the choice venue for aspiring musicians and artists because of its music-hosting ability, Facebook is more user-friendly with simpler formatting and less clutter. Personal info, photos and more are easy to find. What used to be the “Become a fan” button is now just the “Like” feature, so when users “Like” a band or an artist’s official Facebook page, they have subscribed to news updates about new albums, tour photos and more.

     Statistically speaking, November 2007, when MySpace was nearing a definite decline, Facebook was rising in popularity. Students at Cedar Park are now more tech savvy than recent generations, and  can chat, share funny photos, post interesting videos and share life’s moments with each other from across the city. The rise of the Internet in the 90s and technology’s rapid overnight revolution has made these things more accessible to kids than ever before. The average teen spends about three hours a day on the computer alone. With all of the world’s news, music, photos and blogs at their fingertips, it’s hard to imagine living without these luxuries.

     Although Facebook is only one facet of technology and the internet’s global takeover, it’s a huge one. From a Harvard student’s website experiment to one of the biggest pop culture icons of this generation, it has transcended the typical social network and skyrocketed into popularity faster than any of its kind. Whether linking users from Cedar Park to Houston or New York to Tokyo, Facebook has proven itself to be one of the most remarkable sites for connecting with friends, revisiting family, getting the latest news and simply enjoying the things that life has to offer.