It’s Facebook’s birthday today, which means we are celebrating 12 years of the social media platform. What started out as TheFacebook.com, Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University project, is now the world’s biggest social media platform with more than a billion people visiting the site every day.
The earliest version of the site asked visitors to choose between two photos by picking the most attractive person, but today Facebook is used for countless different purposes, from video and photo sharing to business marketing to chatting with friends and keeping up with people from around the world. With user numbers continuing to grow, it seems like it won’t be going anywhere soon. But what is it that has made Facebook so popular and allowed it to leave its social media competitors so far behind?
To begin with, it is packed with engaging features. Users have the ability to look up old friends, follow a newsfeed, like and follow pages, and easily share content with others, which means it works equally well for individuals and businesses. Its Messenger app has been hugely popular too, surpassing 800 million users last month and emerging as 2015’s fastest-growing app.
Besides its features, one of the most appealing features of Facebook is its easy-to-navigate design. People want websites that are intuitive and easy to use, and Facebook certainly offers this. You don’t need any specialist knowledge of computers, HTML, hashtags or symbols to make full use of Facebook, which means it has fans throughout the world spanning all age groups and experience levels. From your little brother to your granny, it seems like everyone has a Facebook profile these days, and this is all down to the friendly and approachable interface they’ve created.
In order to stay ahead of the game online, businesses need to evolve. There have been major changes in the online world over the last few years, for example the emergence of smartphones as the most popular way to access the web. Facebook has survived and thrived because it has never been scared to change with the times, with many adaptations to the layout and newsfeed to continue optimising the user experience.
Another possible reason for Facebook’s popularity is their approach to anonymity. Online identities are a huge concern for many people, and Facebook have always worked to address this and make sure they can provide a safe and open online platform. In general, they have a “one person, one profile” policy, and profiles with pictures come up first in search results.
As long as Facebook continues to change with the times and continue to offer users a great social media experience, it seems like its dominance will continue long into the future.