Born in 1984, Dobbs Ferry, New York, in his short life, Mark Zuckerberg has changed the way people live. From a dorm room at Harvard, as a 19-year-old he created Facebook, and just over seven years later over 550 million people are scrolling through their walls.
At the end of last year he was voted TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. He is a billionaire six times over and has wired one out of 12 people on the planet to the same network. So, where does Facebook go from here?
Facebook now has a population so big that if it were a country it would rank as the third largest in the world. With this comes a drastic change in how the Internet is used and how people are socialising day to day. The web used to be a form of escapism, to get away from your family, job and background and become who you wanted to be. A world that sadly became associated with nerds, perverts and the lonely. The double lives people used to lead are ending and Facebook has altered how, when and what people communicate to each other.
…the pressure to become part of Zuckerberg’s social dream is too much.
People’s personal lives have been laid bare as following someone’s life in such detail has never been so easy. 15 billion photos are now present on Facebook and around 80,000 statuses are added every minute to help the avid user’s nose in touch with everyone’s life. But what must be remembered is it is all by choice, no one has to join Facebook and publish things about their lives step by step; yet for some, the pressure to become part of Zuckerberg’s social dream is too much.
Lately we have seen Facebook began to integrate themselves with other Internet sites. You can ‘like’ things on other websites that will show up on your wall. In an interview at the end of 2010 with TIME magazine, Zuckerberg expressed a desire to bring the feeling of bumping into someone onto the street onto the web, and making it happen a lot more often. An example being when you visit another site such as Amazon.com, you can see what your friends have bought or looked at, and read the comments they have left. The same can happen with iTunes or YouTube. If two of your friends have ‘liked’ a product, song or video you are more likely to consume that, than if it was ‘liked’ by a hundred strangers.
As this movement starts to progress, more and more people’s actions will be presented, whether you really want to see them or not.
Audiences now have the option of hitting ‘like’ on the advertisement, giving it a personal endorsement…
This explains how Facebook has made its fortune. Its main source of income is advertising, and what makes Facebook such as wonderful platform for companies (such as Nike and Louis Vuitton) is its ability to target a specific audience. For example, if Louis Vuitton only want to advertise to females aged 25 to 35 who live in New York and own a dog, Facebook can make that happen.
Facebook now has a vast and more intimate knowledge of people than governments and with this they make it an unbeatable space to advertise in. Audiences now have the option of hitting ‘like’ on the advertisement, giving it a personal endorsement, again making it a lot more attractive to their friends.
Facebook has already conquered a large percentage of the world, but there are still a lot more people that have yet to embrace to the blue banner. At the end of last year, China only had around 100,000 users, mainly because the site is continuously blocked. With around one-sixth of the earth’s population living there, growth in members must be on the company’s agenda. Despite this if the current growth rate continues Facebook should be signing up their one-billionth member by August 2012.