Facebook is 15 years old. Now think about the average 15 year old and perhaps everything we think and know about Facebook makes sense finally?
15 years ago the site launches at “The Facebook”, a Harvard University online tool to find and friend people on campus.
Two years later that concept opened to the world, and the floodgates burst open as people joined Facebook in droves.
Many fought the idea, but in the end it’s become a place to connect with friends and family, close and long lost in both cases – and share both silly, simple and complex life events.
Amazing really that my distant family probably know more today about my life and kids than they would otherwise have known if not for Facebook.
On that basis, it’s been an amazing tool for connecting people. And if connecting people is what Facebook does – they’re a success.
However, Facebook is also a business. With a market capitalisation hovering around the half a trillion dollar mark they are quite literally one of the biggest companies in the world.
With that comes scrutiny, and when your stock and trade is people’s information that’s always going to be difficult.
Facebook has had endless issues over the last two years, as those teenage years kicked in they pushed the boundaries of privacy and the use of personal data.
2018 was by far Facebook’s worst, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, leading to a movement to delete Facebook among many.
But the reality is, not many did. With a user base measured in the Billions, and usage in Australia well over 60% (if you take the under 13 year olds out of the population count that number is surely 80%+) Facebook cannot be ignored by individuals or businesses.
And it’s businesses who have most benefited, and I would argue too – been most frustrated by Facebook.
A business could create a “Page” on Facebook and attract “Likes” for their page. In return the users who Likes the page would get updates from that Business. However Facebook changed things some years ago and reduced the amount of information from pages being directed to people by default. This meant that a Business would only reach 10% of their “Audience” with any given post to their page.
The answer – spend money – Boost. A Boosted post might cost a business $10, or they might spend $1000. That spend could allow your post to reach your actual total audience, or even grow and find a new audience.
That ability to target a specific audience, for example men aged 34-44 in Sydney who already have an interest in Ferrari’s – meant powerful targeted advertising.
But for the poor small business investing their time in a Facebook page, it became less relevant – so it’s a fine balance for many today if they should even bother.
Regardless, Facebook is the single most dominant social media platform that exists today. Dwarfing by some magnitude Twitter, and only challenged by Instagram which was purchased by Facebook.
For all of its controversy, and all of the drama, It’s worth remembering how connected many families and individuals now are through this one simple platform.
It’s not perfect – but what 15 year old is? Though, you’ve got to wonder how things will be when they can start drinking in three years?
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.