Tuesday 4th 2014 marked Facebook 10th birthday. The impact of Facebook on the 21st century has been humongous. It changed how we individually communicate with each other, how we virtually interact, how companies can almost “directly” build up relationships with customers, how they can also literally “read” and “learn” about our tastes, interests and personalities, how news and information are related (how common it is today to discover the latest big news through Facebook: Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death was the last one). It literally transformed communication channels from one end to another, thus impacting the entire social praxis.
Facebook is 10 years old. The company has been part of our lives for long enough to have an influence on other aspects of it: Past and Memories. One of my friends once said: “to go through my Facebook, from the day I subscribed until today, is like reading my own diary.” How true! I subscribed to Facebook in 2009, posted few pictures, been tagged in a lot more, wrote on my friends’ walls, poked them, liked their pictures, commented them, shared what I thought at the time were the coolest articles or YouTube videos…Today I have 290 friends from all around the world. I do not often directly communicate with them but they remain part of my daily life through their own Facebook activities. And that is probably my favourite aspect of Facebook: the long lasting connection with others. All the people I have met are part of my past and memories. No matter what and how they and I did it, it is a fact: they filled up my memories with smiles and burst of laughter, joy and support, conversations and debates, dances and songs, we have walked thousands of kilometers, listened to hours of music, watched tons of movies and series, drank litter of coffees, teas etc… Unfortunately, my brain cannot simply stock everything and tends to select “valid” memories. This is where Facebook “amazing” and “worrying” genius remains, by working as a platform that can store each and every moments of a lifetime, and when requested can bring everything back to the surface. Facebook is definitively like reading a diary made of my and their words, pictures and sounds.
For its 10th birthday, Facebook offered its 1.2 billion users a present – a personalized video made of a collection of their Facebook memories. I stopped counting the number of my Friends who posted one because I watched mine – and to be honest I was moved. The digital collage illustrated not only my Facebook activities but my past, my memories therefore my life. And this is probably why the Look Back Feature became so popular and widely shared. It does not celebrate the company; it celebrates users one by one. Facebook made a great effort trying to give a personalised video (mind the template) for each of its users. In the end, Facebook anniversary is a little bit like our anniversary. So Happy Facebook Birthday to you, them and me.