Once upon I went to high school. I didn't have a cell phone. I didn't have my own computer. I didn't have tv in my room. And I for sure didn't have facebook. For starters, can you even imagine a facebook home page loading with dial up internet? Skaweeruureeweeer. "Kels, are you on the computer? I need to use the phone."
Soon enough I graduated from high school and got a sweet, new Nokia cell phone. You all know the type, right? The kind you could throw against a brick wall and it wouldn't break. The kind that got great reception. The kind that you could play SNAKE on. That kind.
I rode off for college with my desktop computer taking up my backseat, and my clear phone that would be my source of communication across campus.
My college had what was called a "look book". It was the best thing ever. You could get on your computer, pull up the website, punch in your student id, and then pull up the Look Book*. It included: every students' room number, phone number, what year they were, and the best thing of all: their student ID photo. Let me tell you: student ID photo day was kind of a big day because of the look book. I mean, there was none of this roll out of bed and go get your picture snapped-- you had to actually fix your hair and look presentable, as that picture wasn't just going to get you into ball games or the cafeteria for free, it was going to be what all students, campus wide, would access when they wanted to peer at the Look Book.
Then there was this little buzz that started around campus**: something like "The Face Book" or something? By the end of my freshman year I checked it out. There wasn't much I could do on it: I could upload a profile picture, which was kind of nice since I got to CHOOSE the picture instead of just having to use my student ID pic. I could only really interact with other students from my campus though, and we all still used our Look Book when we really needed information.
By the time my sophomore year rolled around, Facebook was where it was at. The site was official now, and out of its "testing" phases. I officially "joined" September 29, 2005. On November 3, the first person wrote on my "wall": Katie K. to Kelsey C. -- "Looks like those Crest White Strips are working well…" And I was off.
You could now add more than just a profile picture, and you could "tag" others in the photos you added. By November 9, 2005 I had officially been tagged in one of my wingmates photos after we may or may not have attacked our brother wing:
Once you could add pictures, the craziness of Facebook really took off. You could upload up to 62 photos in an album. You could adjust your "relationship status" to its appropriate place: single, it's complicated, engaged, in a relationship etc. At this point you could be "friends" with anyone who was a student at another college or university. It was like someone had created this cool club for all college students, and I was invited!
By the time my Junior year rolled around, words like "poke", and "unfriend", and "the wall" had entered everyone's vocabulary. And then, halfway through my junior year the brains behind Facebook did something that would change everything as we knew it even more: they made it so you could link up with the person you were in a relationship with. You could no longer just put "in a relationship" and expect people to believe you: You had to be in a relationship ENOUGH that the person you were in the relationship with would actually accept your request to flaunt it on their wall. It was around this time that I first heard people use the term "We are Facebook Official". Before that, people just had DTRs. You know, the "Define The Relationship" talk. That was no longer necessary because all you had to do was accept their request to link you up to "in a relationship" and you could consider the relationship DEFINED!
One "cool thing" to do on facebook was create funny "groups" that people could join. At this point you could still only join groups that were created by students on your campus, so there were funny, inside joke groups like: "People who sit in the balcony at Chapel" or "I found my Vocare". But there were other groups too: "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet" or "Procrastinators unite…tomorrow!".
By the end of my Junior year, or somewhere in there, high schools and businesses were added to the list of people that could create a facebook account. And by my senior year, anyone could join. It was still mainly a "young adult" or "teenage" space though. It became the place to go when you didn't want to study for an exam or write that paper. And what happened next was another one of those game-changing-moments: the smart phone! There was this thing called the iphone. Rumor had it you could actually get on the internet and check FACEBOOK on your PHONE?! As if we needed to spend more time on there?! Most people didn't have this capability, but you tell those who did, as they frequently updated their statuses.
And then somewhere between graduating from college and two years later, EVERYONE was on Facebook. EVERYONE.
And slowly it began to lose its allure for those of us that were the generation at the forefront of its break into this world.
Sure, we are still on there and sure, some still post way too much or spend too much time perusing its pages, but it has been interesting to see the number of people in my generation slowly move away from it. I think we are just used to being the generation that was at the start of some really great things: cell phones, wireless connections, facebook, the iphone etc. etc. And when things lose their newness, we back away.
So off to INSTAGRAM and TWITTER we fled! You want to know why we are using hashtags [#] on Facebook? It's because we never actually get on Facebook to post anything: we do it straight from the other [newer…cooler….] social media outlets we've found.
Ten years ago if someone would have said, "Go check the wall" or "Sorry, I was Facebooking," everyone would have stared at them blankly. Oh how far we've come! [Or have we? That's another post entirely!]
Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go post a link to this blog on Facebook.
Do you remember the first time you heard about Facebook? Those of you "original college Facebookers", are you like me in thinking it was better back in "the old days"? :)
*Brent's college had something similar that they called "The Wish Book", because you would look through it and make your "wishes" ;)
** My friend Becker still swears she is the reason that Facebook came to our college after she got together a petition. :)