Posted by Martyn Casserly 07 February 2014
5 reasons why Facebook is just like any other 10-year-old
Facebook has just turned 10 years old. A fact you can't help but have noticed due to your News Feed being utterly dominated by videos Facebook has made to celebrate every user's history, totally failing to capture the essence of them in the process.
So what does this milestone represent for a company that has gone from a tiny, university-only bulletin board with ambition, to the biggest social media portal the western world has ever seen? In many ways Facebook is actually not that far off your typical ten year old, so here we’ll explore how this new decade will affect your relationship with the site as it begins to move through its awkward phase.
1) It’s beginning to assert its independence.
There was a time when Facebook was a docile and respectful creature. It did as it was told, when it was told. This made us happy, secure, and ensured that any Victorian chimneys we had remained soot free. But recently there has been a change in this tranquillity as our young charge has begun to show distinct signs of an independent streak. Where once you could decide to have your news feed in the sensible and mature order in which people actually post things, now anarchy reigns as Facebook automatically changes it back to Top Stories whenever it feels like it.
And it feels like it a lot. There you are happily keeping in touch with your social circles, then suddenly a news item from two years ago pops up to confuse you. I didn’t know Charlie was pregnant again! Led Zeppelin are reforming? England crash out of the world cup in embarrassing fashion? Oh, wait, that’s not old news.
2) It’s going through changes
Entering double digits can have profound effects upon the bodies of young folk. Things get confusing, awkward, and inevitably there are some physical developments. Facebook has, for most of its existence, been cute and carefree, with a clean, fresh-faced appearance. Now this is starting to be affected by regular ad-spots that spoil the previous cherubic visage. Where once was the simple white and blue expanse, now we are confronted by colourful blemishes that implore us to sign-up to various games that will steal our money through the evil that is micro-transactions. Oddly enough this is also similar to the way young children behave.
3) It’s getting ready to go to big school
The end of the homework-light days of primary education can come as quite a shock to the system. For years the comfortable surroundings and constancy of friends has been a rock under those diminutive feet. Time, though, is a cruel mistress and all must pass through the crucible of secondary school, with all it entails.
Facebook has enjoyed years of being the little startup that most certainly could. But when it floated on the stock exchange just over a year a half ago those days were firmly behind it. Now there is an expectation to make money, shareholders to answer to, and this will only lead to more advertising, the potential sale of data, and who knows what else. Excuse me a moment while I weep for the loss of innocence.
4) Your secrets are no longer safe
There’s a certain charm about the straight talking, calling it as you see it nature of children. In many ways this is how you bring them up, to be honest and forthright. Of course this can have calamitous results if you happen to mention to them what you really thought of the birthday present from your partner, or how their latest haircut wasn’t quite the success that you pretended it was. Just wait a few days and these careless whispers are guaranteed to reappear in a conversation, most likely around the dinner table, at a moment of maximum embarrassment.
Ah, kids. Aren’t they wonderful? Well, Facebook is no shirker in the land of revelations. Time after time the overly truthful site has changed various settings that expose your details to the world, mostly without telling you. In recent weeks it’s even updated the Android version of its app so that it can read your text messages. Who needs the NSA or GCHQ spying on us when Facebook can do a much better job?
5) Even through all this, they’re still great fun.
Parenting is a hard job. The hours are long, the pay is poor, and it’s a very long time before you really see a finished result - if ever. In many ways it’s unappealing, but there is something that always gets you past the difficult times...it’s a lot of fun. Facebook has many faults, personality quirks, and can be downright stupid at times, but in the end we keep coming back for more because it is a great place to keep up with people, find links to the best videos and articles the internet has to offer, and look at all our friend’s pictures without them knowing. I guess it does keep some secrets after all…