As years pass, most of the younger generation struggles to remember a time when social media and Facebook were not synonymous with the Internet itself, and today many still regard it as king of its domain. Ever since the social networking company was founded back in February of 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and several of his fellow Harvard roommates, its audience has steadily grown, and now the total number sits at over 1.3 billion users.
This is an exponential fluctuation over the previously limited access reserved simply for other students of Harvard University. Since that time, Facebook has gradually opened its doors first to all college students, then high school students, and now anyone of at least 13 years of age. Considering the fact that there are roughly 7.1 billion Internet users worldwide, it is only natural that Facebook would experience such a surge of growth as it made its way center stage into the world of social media.
Social networking, and the corresponding service providers, seek to offer a platform in which individuals can bridge connections between themselves and others of a like or similar focus. A shared social focus can range from a shared cause or vision, to simply the mutual desire to extend the basic courtesy of friendship. With the rise of activity throughout this medium of networking, comes a wide range of possibilities on both personal and professional levels.
Facebook gives its users the option of reaching out to members of both the past and present stages of their lives. Anyone can easily create new relationships via an expansive interface that allows for fluid interactions with a seemingly infinite pool of users, pages, groups, and events. The only initial boundary is the acceptance of an invitation for inclusion. However, the system of virtual recognition that comes from amassing friends, likes, and followers often leads people to accept anyone who would oblige, so the aforementioned prerequisite is rarely an issue.
Others have taken note of the high demand for these services, and created their own equivalents to social media networking. Companies like Twitter and Instagram also serve the masses with their own versions of online bridging connections, and have combined the concepts of an inner circle and a popularity system into what is now known as “followers.” Followers are essentially a group of people who have chosen to subscribe to a stream of updates that reflect the activity of another registered user within the site. These updates allow others to be kept abreast of the latest socially publicized developments that could be of any potential interest to the follower. This system has seen much success, with single users such as celebrities and other public figures accumulating more than 1 million followers on their respective accounts. Despite these variations across the online platform, Facebook still reigns as king of the internet social media hierarchy.
On February 4, 2014, Facebook will celebrate its 10 year anniversary, and shows no signs of slowing down, with an active user count of 1.23 billion. 945 million users enjoy the social networking service from their mobile devices, which is a clear indication that the implementation of social media into the real world suffers no hindrances. This can also be seen by the wide usage of Facebook’s video functionality, which allows users to upload videos recorded with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Other applications have introduced their own versions of this feature as well, in the form of Vine and Instagram video. It remains to be seen whether or not another social platform stands to take the title of king from Facebook, however, if the numbers are any indication, this Internet shift will not take place any time soon.
Written by Darrell Purcell