I joined Facebook on 6th June 2007, 10 years and 4 months ago. It was just 9 months after Facebook had opened up to anyone over the age of 13 who had an email address. Before Facebook I had been on Bebo (I had actually completely forgotten about it until I saw a mention of it on my early Facebook timeline!) and before that Friends Reunited had helped me find some old school friends.
So when I joined Facebook I added some friends, uploaded some photos (including my first profile picture which you can see above) and didn’t actually write my first status until four days later when I wrote:
getting very excited about being in We Will Rock You next week.
That was back in the day when all statuses started with ‘Sarah is…’ and everyone wrote about themselves in the third person. It was only a few months later that Facebook removed the ‘is’ but looking back through my timeline it looks like I insisted on keeping up the third person thing for quite a long time after.
I still clearly remember the early day of Facebook though. The only people I had as Facebook friends were my actual friends. People who I knew and had met in real life. I had a great time reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen for a long time and having a good old nosy about what they were up to and where their lives had taken them.
When I first started using Facebook it was a very different place than it is now. I don’t remember there being Pages in the early days and a quick Google tells me these weren’t available for businesses until May 2009. I only used Facebook for talking to my friends, ‘poking’ them (do you remember that? I just had a look and you can still do it!), and competing against my friends in various quizzes when I should have been working.
Facebook was a strictly computer based thing for me, I didn’t get a smart phone until sometime in 2009 so I could only access Facebook on my computer at home or at work. It was a such a new thing that it was easy to access in the office, no one had thought to ban it yet. I wonder how many working hours companies have lost to Facebook in the last 10 years?!
About 18 months after I joined Facebook my mum did too. It was mostly because she was fed up of me finding out what family friends were up to before she did. Before Facebook I’d speak to her on the phone and she’d tell me she’d spoken to Auntie so-and-so and what was happening with their son/daughter/dog/whatever, and after Facebook I already knew all the news because I’d already read it in someone’s status update.
2009 was also when I joined Twitter and a lot of my online chat moved over there. I largely ignored Facebook for the next few years, probably only checking it a few times a week. And then in 2013 I started this blog. I set up a Facebook page as it seemed like the done thing. But I still didn’t have a lot of love for Facebook. I automatically published new blog posts to my Facebook page but that was about it.
In the last 18 months or so though, I have joined quite a lot of really friendly and helpful Facebook groups. A lot are related to blogging, some are to do with kids’ clothes or toys, some are local mums’ groups. And now Facebook is probably the social media platform where I spend the most time. It doesn’t look like it from my personal profile, which I rarely update these days, but I regularly update my blog page, and I spend an awful lot of time in closed groups chatting with friends.
I have a love hate relationship with Facebook now. I hate how much of a time suck it is, how I find myself just endlessly scrolling through my timeline, checking my notifications, refreshing my feed. I get sucked into other people’s stories – reading all the comments on posts I have no interest in. But some days pretty much my only interaction with other adults comes from Facebook. And I’m really glad it does – without Facebook I reckon my life would be a pretty lonely place to be sometimes.
So Facebook, and how I use it, has changed an awful lot in the last 10 years but as sad as it may sound I can’t imagine what life would be like now without Facebook, and the people I talk to there, as my constant companions.
Are you a Facebook fan? How long has it been a part of your life?