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Opinion: Facebook turns 10, many more milestones to be expected

February 7, 2014

gordon.847@osu.edu
Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. The social media site turned 10 years old Feb. 4. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Chairman and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg. The social media site turned 10 years old Feb. 4.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Every child has a claim to fame — a hobby, a skill, a crowning-achievement that defines them. My 10-year-old self, for instance, was a self-proclaimed Sims wizard, an unmatched queen of the tetherball scene. Few 10-year-olds, however, can boast a net worth of $135 billion or 1.23 billion “friends,” let alone household-name status or immortalization in film.

Unless, of course, you’re Facebook.

This past Tuesday, the social media giant celebrated its big “one-O,” marking a decade-long journey of ups, downs and unparalleled growth. In celebration of this benchmark, Facebook launched its new “A Look Back” feature, which — true to its name — creates personalized movies featuring photo collections and status updates that highlight a user’s more noteworthy moments on the site.

Yet with this celebration also comes scrutiny: the inevitable wave of critics and clairvoyants, loudly envisaging “the beginning of the end” for the site. Once a pioneer in the social media scene, Facebook is now rivaled by Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, among others, and is thus first in an ever-dreaded succession — “The Next MySpace.”

While yes, I am among the oddball minority with deactivated Facebook profiles, I do not foresee the site’s demise for a number of reasons.

Think about it: In the matter of merely 10 years, an entire generation has invested its pictures, relationships and contacts in this single domain. Photo albums and address books are now bygone relics, faded remnants of years past. To remember a friend’s birthday now without Facebook is nearly unheard of, and the word “like” has taken on a whole new meaning. The site is ubiquitous, permeating our lives even when we’re logged-off — even with deactivated accounts.

And herein lies the true might of Facebook: its permanence. For while users can quickly and easily delete Twitter and Instagram, Facebook neither offers nor mentions deletion. Even “deactivated” accounts linger on, forever trapped in the fold. The implication of this is simple: Facebook cannot by any means backtrack or “shrink” and will continue to barrel beyond 1.23 billion users.

Down to its core, Facebook is a corporation — a corporation like the 208-year-old Colgate-Palmolive or the 122-year-old Coca-Cola. With so many resources at its disposal and with fingers so deeply entrenched in our lives, Facebook has the power to reinvent and rebrand itself to no end.

And so as the site blows out 10 symbolic candles, as founder Mark Zuckerberg makes his much-anticipated wish, users have one thing above all to be thankful for— it wasn’t named HeadNovel.


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