Facebook was started by Harvard students on February 4th 2004. Other students from surrounding universities were invited to join a little while after, then high school students and company employees, until in 2008 it was an international forum where anyone over the age of 13 who had an email address could join.
Facebook is a social networking tool allowing users to connect with friends, family, co-workers etc. Users are able to sign up and join a particular network. A network could be Australia, RMIT, MLC etc. By signing up to these networks users can find people with commonalities to them, whether it be users that went to the same school, worked at the same organisation or just live geographically close.
Facebook also allows users to search their friends name or email address to find them on facebook, allowing them to be added as a friend.
A list is then developed of all your friends that are able to view and contribute to your page.
On your page you create a profile, a photo of yourself can be uploaded and your information and interests can be specified. Privacy can be set on who you want to be able to see your page.
Features of this page include a wall, where users are able to post public messages.
Photos and albums that can be uploaded and users can ‘tag’ themselves and their friends which means they can click on their friends face, type in their name and automatically that photo is then linked to the ‘tagged’ persons page.
Users are able to update their status – what’s on their mind, where they are or what they’re doing.
Facebook also allows people to comment on other people’s photos, status’, wall posts and pick whether they like/dislike it.
There are also more private functions, like the inbox which is a bit like private email where you can send messages to one or a group of friends that only those people are able to see, and the chat function where you can chat online to friends, which is a bit like instant messaging through a private medium.
Groups can be started, where people who are interested in the same topic can start a page where group members are able to post their comments, links, videos and photos to create a hub of information on that topic. With the same abilities events can also be created which are invitations for friends to come to an event.
The news feed function shows yours and all your friends status’, events, groups etc. and is constantly updated with the latest ‘news’.
Facebook is also able to be used as a platform for applications created by software developers that work alongside the facebook features.
To see distribution of global facebook users of different demographics (country, age and gender) please go to http://www.checkfacebook.com/ which is updated daily and click on your country of interest to receive readable charts.
Facebook fits into the social networking category. Watch the video below for a simple explanation.