Facebook is a social media platform that came into existence twelve years ago. Mark Zuckerberg launched the website along with his four fellow developers from Harvard University (Wilson, Gosling and Graham 2012, p. 204). This site was initially limited to Harvard University students, but it has since grown into the global site used by everyone all over the world. Facebook had 1.7 billion active monthly users globally as at 2012 (Zuckerberg 2012).
The Facebook design is in such a way that all one has to do is create a profile, put a display picture, fill in the relevant information and send friend requests to other users. Once the friend request is accepted, irrespective of the geographical differences, the users are able to communicate in real time and efficiently. Either the communication can be private using the inbox option or public through the Facebook wall, which enables more than one user comment on the topic at hand hence, creating a dialogue (Ugander, Karrer, Backstrom, and Marlow 2011, p 4503). This innovation was a significant technological advancement as it helped break the distance barrier.
Before its onset, there was no communication platform in the world, which interconnected people from all over the world. Facebook filled this gap. In 2009, Facebook messages exceeded the one billion plus messages daily (Feitelson et al. 2013, p 11). The statistics clearly illustrate the communication role that Facebook continues to play to its users. The massive communication impact that Facebook continues to play in the world is just but revolutionary. These figures are expected to grow as Facebook continues introducing new features of importance (Feitelson et al. 2013, p 13).
Through the development of social sites like Facebook, it is evident that the internet has evolved tremendously over just two decades. Currently, the internet is part of people’s daily lives with social media taking up the biggest part of internet use. The social and real realm gap has significantly reduced due to social media sites such as Facebook (Miller 2009, p. 67)). The reduction is evidenced by the fact that people post their daily endeavors on Facebook such as what they are doing, eating and such. The mundane nature of this social media site is what makes Facebook significant.
Facebook has developed immensely since its inception. Currently, it has developed more data sharing features such as the ability to send files and even video calling (Duggan 2013). These features have therefore enabled easier transfer of data. Data sharing is an important technological advancement since important files and documents are transferrable from one person to another efficiently. The video calling features is crucial since people can now video conference easily and interact on a more personal level.
Facebook is a major turning point for business and continues to play a vital role in both marketing and advertisement of goods and services (Vitak, and Ellison 2013, p 460). Currently, Facebook has developed the use of business pages and an advertising system to conduct business. These pages play a significant role since it facilitates the integration of people in a single page. The people can then communicate and discuss ways to improve on the products as well as make any inquiries. Almost all corporations currently have Facebook pages, which they use to engage with their customers and potential clients.
Facebook is undoubtedly an online community. According to a socialist, Benedict Anderson, a community may be a group, which consists of people who know about each other’s existence even if they do not know each other personally (Khan 2012, p 59). Facebook contributed a lot to the integration of people worldwide to a single platform. Most Facebook users can attest to the fact that they do not personally know everyone on their friend’s list. Facebook, therefore, played a turning point in the ways through which people meet. Many relationships continue developing online, and some people even end up getting married after interacting through this social platform.
The use of Facebook has significantly influenced Internet technologies regarding journalism. A study by Pew Research Centre revealed that Facebook plays a critical role as a driver to online news (Perrin 2015). There are many established news centres such as CNN and AL Jazeera. These sources receive a lot of traffic as trusted and up to date sources of information. The study revealed that most of this popularity is attributable to Facebook since many people access information through their Facebook pages (Perrin 2015). This fact, therefore, proves the vital informational role Facebook has facilitated.
Facebook continues to play a critical role in the political world. Aspiring leaders use social media and especially Facebook to connect with their potential voters. Presidential campaigns and politics conduction through Facebook has increased, and this is a significant shift from the traditional methods of conducting campaigns. In the past, most aspirants used television, print media and physical appearances to conduct their campaigns. President John F. Kennedy is a good example. In 1960, he used the television as his primary tool for facilitating his campaigns (Scherer 2012). President Barack Obama, on the other hand, conducted his campaign using the internet, Facebook to be precise (Scherer 2012). Using Facebook to demonstrate his youth earned him support from lots of the young people in comparison to his competitor, John McCain who was less appealing. To prove Facebook’s importance, 5.4 Million people showed that they voted for Obama by clicking the “I voted” button on an official election page on Facebook. Seventy percent (70%) of these voters were the youth under the age of 25 (Scherer 2012).
The development of free software is among one of the factors that made Facebook very attractive. Initially, no free software existed (Williams 2011). For one to access the source codes of the proprietary software available, one had to seek permission from the programmers and the corporations that held the copyright law for that software. These organizations rarely gave the information since they did not want their competitors to have access to them. Richard Stallman at the time worked at MIT in the artificial intelligence lab, and he desired to modify the Xerox printer machine’s software (Williams 2011). He wanted the software to incorporate a way of sending a message to the person who was printing any documents informing them that the task was complete. However, it was not possible for him as there was a new copyright and trade secret law that made it mandatory to first sign a non-disclosure agreement before being granted access to the source codes. Out of frustration, Stallman went ahead and formed GNU and Free Software Foundation, a new prohibition that he made was that users were free to manipulate the software and need not contact the developers for obtaining any permission (Williams 2011).
The new turn of events completely revolutionized the entire internet technologies sphere. Facebook benefitted greatly from the free software. This advantage is because free software is studied without restrictions, run, operated and modified without restrictions. The massive growth of the internet and sites such as Facebook is therefore greatly attributed to free technology (Von Krogh et al. 2012, p 660).