Facebook originally started back in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. It was originally created for the private use of students at Harvard University, allowing like-minded students to keep in touch with each other. In just a matter of a month Facebook could boast that more than half of the population of undergraduates at Harvard had become members. This prompted for a widespread push for Facebook to expand its servers which it accomplished in March 2004. This allowed various other Ivy-League schools to indulge and participate in what could be argued is the greatest online social experiment ever undertaken. It wasn’t until September 26th 2006 that Facebook opened its doors to the public allowing anyone aged over 13 the chance to create their own profile. Since then Facebook has become one of the most powerful tools in the media industry. Regularly featuring in the top 5 most popular websites each year alongside such power houses as Google and YouTube. Since becoming open to the public Facebook has revolutionised the platform of Social Media. Rendering former competitors such as MySpace and MyLife to the bowels of mediocrity.
Pushing along statistics can show us quite substantial and accurate information about the geographic locations and or countries who utilise Facebook. The top ten countries which make up the most profiles on Facebook range from 1st world nations such as the United States (1) and United Kingdom (6) to developing nations such as Brazil (2) and 3rd world nations such as the Philippines (8).
These statistics provides basic knowledge that Facebook is easily the most popular, accessible and widely used Social media platform in the world. Facebook has become global in every sense of the word. With the exception of a few countries such as China and North Korea for obvious reasons. Facebook has transcended the boundaries of connectivity as it constantly promotes itself on the ideas of unity and connectivity. Below in the image (Facebook Marketing Statistics, Demographics, Reports, and News – CheckFacebook, 2012) it details to a precise degree what nations have produced the highest amount of Facebook accounts. Not to mention which countries are experiencing the highest growth in new profiles in the current week.
The demographics who utilise Facebook have ever increased regarding race, gender and age since it’s mainstream launch in 2006. To argue that Facebook has created a completely unbiased form of Social media can be seen as valid. As these day’s if anyone spends 15 minutes going through any random friend/contact list you will discover people from not only all across the globe, but of various age, race, gender and religion.
These statistics published on March 9th 2012 show in detail what age in percentile figures utilise Facebook. Males comprise 43% whilst females 57%. 0-24 year olds comprise 14%, 25-34 18%, 35-44 22% and finally 45+ comprise a staggering 46% of accounts. Next 57% of users have some form of college or university experience with 24% having degrees of some sort. Finally the average income of Facebook users falls in the majority of the $50,000 -$99,000 range which equivalents to 47% of users, with 33% earning between $25,000 – $49,999. Obviously these stats can be skewed as developing and 3rd world countries annual incomes would be far lower than the average in a 1st world nation. But what we can take from these statistics is that the percentage of rich,poor, educated, male, female, and age largely coincides with the general population in real life. An example only 9% of users earn more than $100,000 in a year. This tells us that Facebook has created a platform that is deemed plausible, accessible and popular amongst nearly every form of demographic. Which is something that no other social media website has ever been able to do since they have usually catered to a single crowd. An example of this catering can be seen in Myspace as it generally targeted adolescents and teenagers. In the Image (A Case Study in Social Media Demographics, 2012) we can clearly see how the population is divided into more detailed categories to further back up the figures mentioned above.
This lack of discrimination of both geographic and demographic background since Facebook’s public release has allowed for it’s ridiculous growth in traffic through the site. Not to mention Facebook has marketed itself alongside the Apple method. Using a light-hearted comedic styling coupled with emotionally raised issues to promote its product. Facebook uses the idea of connectivity to achieve this. Stating it allows users to stay in touch with loved ones and family members who may be abroad as an example. This can be associated with taking an extremely human approach to an otherwise impersonal form of communication, that being computer based communication. This human nature behind Facebook can be seen as its biggest influence over its marketability. To compare the two we have exhibit A) Facebook advertisement and Exhibit B) Apple advertisement Both advertisements utilize a specific crowd, whilst displaying emotions of having fun and happiness. Targeting themes of friends, family, connectivity, social interaction and popularity.
What we can take form Facebook is a lesson in how to create an empire through the use of clever marketing, unbiased ideologies on demographics and geographical positioning, ease of accessibility and the ingenious evolution of the Facebook website itself. Choosing to constantly morph its product into something new, evading the common problem associated with many social media websites which is that of staleness and the fear of not experimenting with new idea’s.
You may be wondering how a social networking site may be constructed to be such a powerful tool. Well with the help of many key novel features, this site only continues to become more of a success! Take the Share feature for example, users can simply click a ‘Share’ button for articles of interest, and you’ve just given all your friends the potential to view what you’re interested in. You can imagine how things escalate from here.
However the ‘share’ feature is only one of Facebook’s many novelty features. Below is an overview of other key features and how they make Facebook unique in comparison to other kinds of social media sites
Facebook is for users to set up personal proﬁles that display basic info such as their name, date of birth, relationship status, personal interests, occupation and home town.
Users create social links by “friending other users. This feature gives us the choice to decline a request, or to hide it using the “Not Now” feature.
Users can upload photos and then go on to “tag” their friends in them. This feature allows Facebook to be the number one photo sharing site online. Comments can also be left on photos. All Wall posts are labelled with the name of the user, and the time/date that they commented.
One great feature that makes Facebook superior to other social media sites is its Privacy settings. You can hide all sorts of information from particular people if you wish. This may come in handy if employees or parents are involved!. This feature allows more control over who can subscribe to your page.
Users can modify privacy settings to restrict access to only friends, friends-of-friends, lists of friends, no one, or all
Every proﬁle has a feature known as the “Wall”. This serves as the central communication method between friends. In addition to this, the Wall is the where all the users happenings are listed. It displays when information is changed, among other things.
Another useful feature is the Mini-Feed, this entails a log of each friends actions. So it consequently flags every friend’s movement instantaneously. This allows users to see at a glance at what their friends are doing online. The Mini-Feed is ordered by date, and only displays the 100 most recent actions.
Chat is a conventional instant online messaging feature. Users may chat with as many online friends as they wish. This feature also supports video chat, so users have the ability to make live voice calls via Facebook Chat, allowing users to chat with others from all over the world.
A ‘like’ Is a way of saying you enjoy a post, without having to actually write anything on it. Users can “like” status updates, comments, photos, and links posted by their friends.
Networks, groups, and “like” pages
Facebook allows different groups to be created which many users can join. Groups are used for discussions and are a way of allowing a number of people to collaborate online to share information and discuss specific topics.
It’s a handy feature for promoting used widely by nightclubs, businesses and public sector organizations to engross with its employees, members, customers and of course the general public.
Facebook events are a great free way for reminding friends about upcoming social occasion/ proceedings in their community. It’s useful as its a free promoting tool, but you are also able to track attendance with an added RSVP feature. This is a unique feature to Facebook.
Facebook then takes connecting people to the next level. This is with the Places feature. It permits users to “check in” to Facebook using a mobile device. It allows friends to see where they are at that point in time. It’s a great feature for linking users together, say you were near by a friends check in, you are most likely going to get in touch with that person and organise a catch up!
The list of useful Facebook features is evidently quite long. Other convenient interaction methods include Status updates and Notifications. A status update allows the user to share absolutely anything with their friends. In return other users are free to like or comment on this message. When a response is given the notification feature kicks in.
So besides all the novel features, what exactly makes Facebook better than another social media site? Let’s use Twitter as an example. Twitter may be faster, but it doesn’t have half the abilities that Facebook has. You can’t choose your followers, or post on friends walls, or privatize certain information from particular people. On twitter everything you post can be seen by anyone. There’s no real privacy besides direct messaging.
In conclusion Facebook’s most recent feature is the ability to; Pay to promote
As of May 2012, Facebook started testing a scheme where users can pay a small fee to ensure that information they post will become more available to more of their friends. Possible payments could be made via Pay pal or credit card
It will be interesting to see how successful this concept will be. Besides the Credits feature where users buy a Virtual currency that enables them to purchase items such as games and other online applications, the service has been free of charge.
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Business insider 2011, 10 Secret Facebook Features you need to be using, Image, viewed 1 October 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com/10-best-facebook-secret-features-and-tips-2011-5?op=1
Christo Wilson, B. B. A. S. K. P. N. P. a. B. Y. Z., n.d. [Online] Available at: http://www.cs.ucsb.edu/~alessandra/papers/interaction-eurosys09.pdf [Accessed 1 October 2012]
CNN Tech 2010, Facebook introduces check-in feature, viewed 1 October 2012, http://articles.cnn.com/2010-08-18/tech/facebook.location_1_facebook-friends-facebook-executives-facebook-staff?_s=PM:TECH
Facebook Marketing Statistics, Demographics, Reports, and News – CheckFacebook, American 2012, image, checkfacebook, October 1 2012, Viewed October 1 2012, <http://www.checkfacebook.com//>.
MojoSoial, 2012 Facebook Post Promote – New Feature to Promote Your Posts, online video, viewed 1 October 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5ODSyxRzXg&feature=player_detailpage