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I didn’t realise it at the time, but something I did 10 years ago today changed my life.
Some good friends of mine were moving to London, and at their farewell drinks I made the typical (for the time) query about exchanging email addresses to keep in touch.
“Oh don’t worry about that, just join Facebook” Jon said.
“Face-what?” I replied.
“Facebook. Then we can easily keep in touch with you and others that way.”
I memorised the address Jon had told me facebook.com and joined the following day, soon becoming friends with Jon and one other friend who said they were on it as well.
They were relatively quiet days early on, with only a few friends, and not much idea about what or how this platform worked.
I had never used MySpace, feeling like it was suited to people just slightly younger than me, or with a different taste in music, so Facebook was ALL new.
These days I religiously review my On This Day feature, and love seeing my very early updates from those first couple of years. Most of them took the “Erica is” prompt very seriously, providing short updates about what I was doing or how I was feeling.
I was also quite the fan of using it to share snippets of song lyrics. Often to the confusion of my sister who doesn’t share the same taste in music and didn’t recognise the references, assuming instead that I was a little unhinged.
And remember poking!? (it’s still there by the way).
Slowly over time, my friends, understanding and use grew.
It’s interesting to recall my early usage habits as well. I didn’t have a smartphone or internet at home, so would just log in from my work computer a couple of times a week.
This frequency also grew, becoming daily, then twice daily, before and after work (wasn’t I a good employee!?)
Due to accessing Facebook from work only, I didn’t check it at all over the weekend. This wasn’t an issue for quite a while, until the first time I saw a message on Monday morning from someone who asked me out on Saturday. Oh well.
Interestingly as my career evolved into digital, so did Facebook evolve to a space for businesses and brands as well as friends, so my use of Facebook changed again; becoming a hybrid of “personal” and “work”. Though these days it’s definitely more weighted on the “work” side.
I’m not going to bang on about the changes on Facebook over the years; I simply wanted to reflect on this small personal milestone, and the impact it has had on my life.
I have never “quit” Facebook, or thought about quitting it.
I do occasionally get overwhelmed by it, fear my potential addiction to it, and try to cut back my use. But it is challenging when my work requires it.
I also seriously consider what I post there and whom I become friends with (sorry-not-sorry random friends-of-friends I’ve met once and clients).
But for all the complaining we do about it, it’s pretty freaking awesome!
The technology for one, is incredible. I have a number of old screenshots in other posts about Facebook, and they trigger memories of what it used to be like.
The features that are being constantly rolled out continue to amaze me, whilst also occasionally shocking me (I’m talking about you face-recognition, and knowing where I am and what I’m messaging about).
And I really loved today’s #faceversary video!
I’ve made some wonderful friends through social media, and it has been invaluable in keeping in touch with friends and family around the world.
When I first travelled overseas there were no social media. I did the “old fashioned” thing and started a blog.
I am also really enjoying the ever-growing Groups functionality, and the ability to connect with like-minded people without having to become friends…
And while it does still throw up a lot of crappy content (not its fault, it’s ours) it provides a wealth of useful, interesting and entertaining information and content.
So thank you Facebook.
At 10 years, our relationship is up there with my family and oldest, closest friends. I haven’t even known my husband that long! (yet)
I am interested to see what happens during the next 10 years…