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The history of Face – the beginnings

The first model of Facebook was called Facemash and was created by second year Harvard student Mark Zukerberg and three other students in October 2008.  Facemash was set up as a game for Harvard students to compare and vote on pictures of female students on who was ‘hot’ or ‘not’.  To show Marks state of mind, he wanted to compare student pictures with pictures of animals.  Mark hacked into Harvard’s security network and copied student images from nine Houses to populate his Facemash website.

Within four hours of Facemash being online, 450 students viewed 22,000 photos. Harvard shut down the website a few days later.   Mark later blogged he was a jerk for making the website

For an art history final, Mark created a social study tool and uploaded 500 Augustan images to a website, one image per page with a section for other to comment.  His classmates soon started sharing their notes on the website.  Facemash was later sold for $30, 201.

Inspired by Facemash, Mark created ‘Thefacebook’ in February, 2004.  He wanted to create a universal website to communicate for Harvard University.  Within 24 hours of the website going on line, it had between 1,200 and 1,500 students registered.  Mark was accused of using an idea from three senior Harvard students and creating a similar website they asked Mark to help them build.

Membership was originally for Harvard students only.  Within the first month more than half the students were registered on ‘Thefacebook’.  Mark signed up others to promote the website.  In March 2004, Facebook expanded to other Universities, gradually expanding to Parker to become Facebook’s president and moved to California.  In 2005 ‘Thefacebook’ became ‘Facebook’.  Facebook is one of the fastest growing companies in history as well as being an essential part of social life for both teenagers and adults. Facebook is also influential in political protests.


Kirkpatrick, D 2010, the Facebook effect, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York.

Phillips, S ‘A brief history of Facebook’, The Guardian, 25th July 2007, retrieved from internet,


Facebook History – A brief history of the Facebook site

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 1

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story Part 2

A brief history of Facebook

Winklevoss Twins – Facebook was our idea – Tyler & Cameron


As Facebook was in the beginning just geographically located in the Ivy League Universities on the East coast of America its adoption to now having more than 955 million active users worldwide it shows a pretty substantial growth rate since its move to making it accessible to anyone aged 13 and over with a valid email address in September 2006.

From once being used by university students to now being used by people of all ages and backgrounds, and even a marketplace for businesses and musicians to advertise music, goods and services.  Facebook now seems to be integrated into society with the majority of people online and posting regularly.

“Research done by Daniel Holder suggests that Facebook reinforces existing relationships more than expanding the creation of new relationships. This makes sense as Facebook provides a cheap way of keeping up with friends. He found that Facebook appears to shape the way in which people view their social relationships.”

I think what puts Facebook above the rest is its broad range of interactivity, there is plenty of things to do on Facebook; look at photos, videos, look at business pages, play games, poke hot girls, and did I mention be connected with nearly a billion people worldwide?

People generally start off using Facebook not so regularly but as their network grows then generally so does their Facebook usage, the more friends you get, the more friends you talk to and interact with.

“I realized that Facebook isn’t just a social network; Facebook is actually a society in and of itself. There is only one rule in this society: complete transparency. When you become a member, you agree to broadcast all kinds of information about yourself with the understanding that anyone who knows you will receive it. Anything you do within the confines of this society is fair game, and further, you’re encouraged to share what you’re doing outside of the society as well.”[i]


The growth of Facebook

With the current number of people signed up to Facebook ranging within the 900 million mark, and with the one billion mark in sight, the company is in pretty good shape to handle this week’s upcoming IPO. But while we talk about how many are on the site and how many more people will join, we tend to forget that this success didn’t happen overnight, it took a lot of planning and work for the social media giant to reach this point.

On the question on what are some of the decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach almost a one billion users?” was posted to Product Manager Andy Johns and he provides a detailed response.

While tactics and planning was important to Facebook success and is part of any successful company out there, it was the site’s atmosphere and priorities that made such growth possible. Johns says that the team grew to 30 – 40 people and everything functioned around ‘decisions’, which revolved around tactics, strategy, hiring and priorities and culture.

The greatest factor, in Johns’ opinion, in increasing the number of users on the site was making the site available in as many languages as possible. The reasons behind this is obvious, but Johns says that “Growth was not about hiring 10 people per country and putting them in the 20 most important countries and expecting it to grow. Growth was about engineer systems of scale and enabling our users to grow the product for us.” Building the international growth side of the team and then scaling it was vital to this growth, which the video below explains.

Also, there were two main features in the office to keep people focused on the task at hand: the first was displaying flags of different nations which not only represented the company’s international workforce, but the global audience it targeted. The second was numerous banners designed to encourage the team to work as hard as possible. Johns mentions two specific signs that hung above the growth team: The first sign read “Go Big Or Go Home” and had a picture of Godzilla next to it (that, according to Johns, made it more awesome) while the other read “Up And To The Right.” That along with many other motivational messages were scattered throughout the office to help motivate the different teams.

Team leader Chamath Palihapitiya says that the key to understanding how growth works can be broken down into two things: The first is a fundamental understanding of your product and knowing why people use it. The second is creating a simple framework for doing your work as making it complicated only makes things harder for yourself.



What is Social Media?

Social media is the future of communication. Social media uses web and mobile based technologies to support interactive dialogue. Media is an instrument on communication, so social media would be a social instrument of communication.

In Web 2.0 terms, this would be a website that doesn’t just give you information, but interacts with you while giving you that information. This interaction can be as simple as asking for your comments or letting you vote on an article, or it can be as complex as Flixster recommending movies to you based on the ratings of other people with similar interests.

Regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter. Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too.

The convergence of streets and networks

A global movement started with Wikileakes, then the Arab revolution, 15M and Occupy. Because of these situations, certain groups wanted to control the communications by controlling our digital freedoms such as the internet.

A group of executives from 40 countries are preparing a freedom-restricting treaty to stop people copying/downloading copyrighted information and for the criminalisation of internet piracy. This group has had not public or parliamentary debate. It is a way of controlling the internet and its information sharing.

There are two sides when reinforcing copyrights. A copyright is indispensable for capital to maintain and expand attention and ownership of data; and the other is financial. Major record companies and media like Murdoch and company will defend SOPA and PIPA. Yet others oppose it such as Google, Facebook, E-bay, Amazon and now Microsoft.
The group Anonymous reacted to the shutdown of Megaupload, a social sharing network. Anonymous campaigned against Scientology and supported Wikileakes. They attacked Visa, MasterCard and PayPal for blocking donations on their own initiative.

I’m not moving YouTube videos

While the Occupy and 15M movements were happening, Anonymous provided alternatives to corporate social communication platforms like twitter and Facebook for debate. Anonymous’ ethical code has no leadership and anonymity is vital to avoid attention seeking behaviours. It does not promote violence or complain about the media. No-one can promote themselves as a representative or a spokesperson. Bio-hypermedia (mobile internet) will be the key medium that brings movements from the streets to the internet.
New social media & the Arab spring, technologies role in the Arab spring YouTube videos

Social media during Arab spring YouTube videos

Digital dualism VS Augmented revolution

Digital dualists have viewed, and continue to view, the Internet as a “flat world” Indeed, digitality promised a Wild-West-like frontier built without replicating the problems of our offline world; fixing the oppressive realities such as skin colour, physical ability, resource scarcity as well as time and space constraints. The digital was thought to be a new frontier where information could flow freely, national boundaries could be overcome, expertism and authority could be upset. Those old structures could be wiped away in the name of a utopian and revolutionary cyber-libertarian path blazed by our heroic cyber-punk and hacker digital cowboys (indeed, those were boy’s clubs.

It is this massive implosion of atoms and bits that has created an augmented reality where the advantages of digitality—information spreads faster, more voices become empowered, enhanced organization and consensus capabilities—intersect with the importance of occupying physical space with flesh-and-blood bodies. Indeed, it should be clear that the differences between the physical and digital always remain important even when acknowledging that our reality is always some combination of the two.

As part of the global augmented revolution, the Occupy Wall Street and subsequent occupation movement across the United States and recently the globe has from the very beginning utilized the Web while always focusing on the importance of (occupying) physical space.Occupy Wall Street protests much of the early organization occurred online, especially when the Internet hacktivist/anarchist group Anonymous joined in. Social media has been used to organize local occupations as well as spread news about the movement, sidestepping traditional media outlets that remained confused and largely ignored the movement. Once organized, occupy protesters often armed with smart phones are taking photos, tweeting, streaming live video and recording harsh police tactics.

It is a mistake to view the Occupy movement as a bunch of young people who all blindly buy the latest smart phones and utilize Facebook, Twitter, digital photography and so on. While this characterization is partially true, not everyone in the Occupy movement is young; and, secondly, the movement as a whole is in no way centered on the new, the high-tech, smart phones or social media. The movement utilizes both high and low-tech. Indeed, the embracing of low/retro/vintage technologies implies a critique of the role of high-tech gadgets and massive social media corporations play in our society. Protesters both utilize the technological possibilities of new, social and mobile technologies while also holding some skepticism of how the devices are built (often in under questionable working conditions is less advantaged areas of the world), its role in consumer capitalism as well as Google, Facebook and other companies’ often monopolistic and intrusive handling of data about ourselves and our lives.

YouTube videos

Social Media assisting not for profit organisations

Slacktivism – the act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem. Meaning you click like on a page for Prostate Cancer awareness, but it’s not something you really care about past clicking like and you are not going to do anything more than that click to help the organization or fix the problem. It seems to be an adopted trait of many active social media participants, with just showing there care for issues online, and not really doing anything past there.

The movement towards social good on these networks is still in its early as there is evidence of organizations not gaining a lot of money from donations via social networking, although they are definitely raising awareness and spreading information to a large number of people
Not for profit organizations in recent years have been using Facebook pages and these pages are beginning to become central to the promotional strategy of many of these organisations. They run donation tabs on their pages along with necessary information, links and guidelines.
YouTube projects are also working to making a difference such as this one
The Pepsi Refresh project in 2010, was launched as people submitting ideas both big and small for ways to refresh their communities
During the submission period Pepsi had more votes on submitted ideas than than voted in the last presidential election.

Social Media’s effects on activism

Political change is being brought about by social media and modern technology in the Middle East, where the youth have taken to the internet to try to bring about change within their countries and communities. In Middle Eastern countries the government have a fairly stringent control over mainstream media so youths take to the internet to get unbiased, reliable and less propaganda filled information. This is also where they go to express themselves without having to worry so much about public criticism and shunning for wanting to express their personal value and beliefs.

The demands made by these youths have displayed quite secular properties and have been more focused around freedom of expression, expanded rights for political participation, resolution of economic challenges and an end to corruption and authoritarianism. Social networking has given people the opportunity to unite, strategize and plan for change all from their own computers or smartphones, with no social restrictions such as gender segregation to hinder the overall goal. Shifting to such a global format amplified voices that were previously restricted by geography and limited technology to a worldwide audience.

The sheer force of numbers is what the nonviolent protesting internet youths have in their arsenal, and it seems to be working, there peaceful demonstrations have had massive impact with emphasis on the non-violent nature of the protests. They believe by these protests they can take their country and culture back from violence prone ruckus.
YouTube videos


In summary, social media is great technology, it takes on many different forms such as internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, micro blogging, wikis, social networks, podcasts; it has positive aspects as well as negative features.


How do you see social media’s role in the future?
Does Social Media really make a difference?