Humanity looked forward to the 21st century due to technological advancements in the 1990s. From 2000 to 2010, the new technology era did not near its end, but rather just began. New inventions came along, such as the iPod, iPhone, Wii, Windows XP, and social networking sites. Most importantly Mark Zuckerberg created thefacebook.com for Harvard undergraduate students to connect in various ways (Phillips).The launching impacted the world’s society in unforeseen ways. Facebook expanded opportunities available among relationships within the first decade of the 2000s.
Many say Facebook lowers one’s self-confidence and creates new addictions for people through the simple availability of the website. A study conducted by Soraya Mehdizadeh, York University Psychology graduate, however, could show a possible correlation between raising self-confidence and the usage of Facebook. Results opposition to the popular opinion of lowered self-confidence correlating with greater Facebook use. Mehdizadeh explains how Facebook can boost the self-confidence of a person which will positively impact their daily life and relationships (Study of Facebook Users). Admittedly, numerous other types of technology emerged alongside Facebook within the decade. The inventions did not have a similar effect on innovating society and culture in the majority of the world as Facebook did. For example, the iPod and iPhone, created October 23, 2001, and June 29, 2007, respectively, were too expensive for the average household. When first being sold the duo’s pricing ranged from $300 to $500 (Putting $200 in Perspective). The Wii video game console quickly became dusty in households after its initial success a few years after its creation. A new Windows’ product quickly replaced Windows XP approximately two years later (A History of Windows). Other social networking sites gained momentum after Facebook began as a platform for the idea of connecting people worldwide with simple clicks. According to a chart from Silicon Alley Insider’s Chart of the Day, Facebook exponentially increased its visitor count after March of 2008 compared to fellow social media networks Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace (Angelova). For instance, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, told his co-workers of an idea of a “status”, according to Business Insider (Carlson). The idea of a status, however, had been created two years before with Zuckerberg’s Facebook. Twitter shortened the word limit to create a more immediate presence for its users in social media. The unlimited character count Facebook allows creates a more intimate connection among users, one of the main appeals of the website.
Facebook began with intimate innovation and continues to evolve to fit the wants of its’ universal users. Mark Zuckerberg created numerous other websites for Harvard students before he launched Facebook on February 4, 2004, such as FaceMash.com, a site used to compare classmates based solely on looks, and Course Match, used to connect Harvard students with similar degrees and classes (Social Network Movie). Zuckerberg created his next idea off a book at Harvard called Face Book, which contained profiles of students and staff given to freshmen, ironically called Facebook. He used prior knowledge to innovate an old tradition Harvard University held to allow the university and its students to connect in a new way. Within 24 hours of its launch, around 1,200 Harvard students had signed up to his website. Within one month of its launch around 3,500 undergraduate students at Harvard had a profile (Dewitt). By September 2006, anyone with a registered email address could have a Facebook profile (Phillips). The quick and wide expansion of Facebook created an everlasting impact for relationships. Now a person could have numerous relationships with anyone else using Facebook. The new website allows relationships to become deeply personal instead of a simple internet relationship.
With opening Facebook to the entire world, the website allowed its users to connect and reconnect with a variety of people and cultures. Numerous stories are told every day about finding loves and lost family members through social media, and especially Facebook. Due to Facebook’s unlimited character count available to its users when posting, a user can tell a complete story or ask for help in finding an individual in one post. Huffington Post compiled “touching love stories” centered around Facebook into an article from February 4, 2014, the tenth anniversary of Facebook’s launching. One story begins with April Gedney LaFave, a Wisconsinite living in Hong Kong, who got a Facebook friend request from Doug LaFave, her future husband and fellow past peer from high school. They began talking over Facebook while Doug fought in Afghanistan, and their love began to grow for each other. In August 2011, according to Huffington Post, they reconnected face-to-face when April picked Doug up from the LaGuardia Airport. April stated “that the second she saw him come down the escalators dressed in his uniform, she instantly knew he was the man she wanted to be with forever.” (Borresen) Without Facebook, this happily married couple may not have reconnected due to circumstances and distance. Beyond the romantic relationships connecting on Facebook, the website also allows for new, and old, friendships to connect. The invention created an entirely new definition for “friendship” and what many perceive a friendship to be. Never before could a person know, in real time, what a person across the world did from a home in the United States. Merriam-Webster has a definition solely for social media references to “friending” somebody (Merriam-Webster). Sending a “friend request” on Facebook evolved to being called “friending”. The idea of friendship, and relationship, changed completely once Facebook placed itself on the map of the Internet.
Facebook allows for a variety of users to connect outside of their comfort zones socially, specifically with friends. For example, in America approximately fifteen million adults suffer from social anxiety disorder which normally onsets at thirteen years old. Social anxiety disorder significantly interferes with daily routines, jobs, and relationships (Social Anxiety Disorder). At age thirteen, users can register for a Facebook account, as well. Having the minimum registration age limit at this essential age, it can limit the amount of social anxiety and hardships a person with the social anxiety disorder has to have during their lifetime. People who suffer from social anxiety disorder can communicate with others of similar age or connect with people who suffer from the disorder as well. By creating a means of communication for people with the disorder, Facebook helps people to not become alienated in today’s society. Often when one is not able to communicate effectively, society can “cut off” communications back to the person. Feeling alienated can lead to many different roads, and some are darker than others. Without an understanding relationship with another person, those suffering from social anxiety disorder may turn to Facebook to find the understanding relationship needed.
Facebook’s numerous benefits through connecting relationships often overshadows the controversial lawsuit the company endured at its’ beginning. The early lawsuit created controversy throughout the business and technology world. Before Facebook’s initial launching, however, twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra thought of a similar idea later called ConnectU. They asked Zuckerberg to help them code and create the website. He simultaneously created thefacebook.com. After the launch of Facebook, many alleged steals and sabotages occurred according to both Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins. ConnectU creators filed a lawsuit against Zuckerberg and his fellow Facebook creators for stealing their plans on September 2, 2004. Zuckerberg filed a countersuit against ConnectU with violating anti-spam laws on March 9, 2007. By June 23, 2007, the court dismissed the lawsuit against Facebook (A Brief History of Mark Zuckerberg’s Legal Woes). Just a few months after the initial launch of Facebook, the company guarded itself from attack. Many companies are not strong enough to continue after a lawsuit, no matter how long it exists. Well-established business and companies began to advertise and communicate with its consumers through Facebook, impacting their amount of activity within the business. Since businesses used Facebook for advertising their products many could overlook the idea of what its creator allegedly did. Facebook changed the business world and its ways of advertising expanded. Now, with Facebook, companies can create ads to fit on the sidebar of a user’s newsfeed. The user unconsciously sees the product and may eventually buy the product due to Facebook. The impact Facebook had on society, socially and economically, by the time of the lawsuit’s end made the thought of Facebook’s demise nearly impossible.
Without Facebook, opportunities of numerous types of relationships would not had occurred in the early 2000s and beyond. Zuckerberg’s innovative ideas jumpstarted other social media networks, such as Twitter. Facebook grew faster than anyone expected at the time. The idea of connecting the world through with one simple email separating this connection innovated the industry on the internet. The controversy after Facebook’s launching shocked the world, but support continued through the difficult legal case against the Winklevoss twins and beyond the case into the next decade. Expanding Facebook, during this case, to the entire world allowed for numerous relationships to (re)connect together. The website also allows for those suffering from social anxiety disorder to experience conversations and relationships with others while feeling comfortable in their own safety. Facebook may not have started as the best invention of the decade, but by 2010 Facebook became the obvious thought for most impactful and most innovative for relationships of the decade.
Angelova, Nicholas Carlson and Kamelia. “CHART OF THE DAY: Facebook Is Absolutely Crushing The Competition.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 08 Apr. 2010. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
Borresen, Kelsey. “You Can Thank Facebook For These Touching Love Stories.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
“A Brief History of Mark Zuckerberg’s Legal Woes.” Gawker. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
Carlson, Nicholas. “The Real History Of Twitter.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 13 Apr. 2011. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
“A History of Windows – Microsoft Windows.” Windows.microsoft.com. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.
Phillips, Sarah. “A Brief History of Facebook.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 25 July 2007. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
“Putting $200 in Perspective: A History of IPod Prices.” Newsvine. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.
“Social Anxiety Disorder | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Social Anxiety Disorder | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
“Social Network Movie vs. Facebook True Story.” ChasingtheFrog.com. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
“Study of Facebook Users Connects Narcissism and Low Self-Esteem.” Scientific American. Web. 07 Mar. 2016.