Categories - Featured, Social Media
I recently took a sojourn to the theater to pay way too much to see the much anticipated film, The Social Network. No one was more excited to finally see the movie than me, my friends, and my contemporaries. My friends and I have been with Facebook since the first year, evolving with every application and addition to the site. I asked my friend if she thought the movie was being made “too soon,” as the retrospective was so small. She thought the film was being released at the exact right time because it is still relevant for us, but we can still clearly remember the beginnings. We have no idea how long Facebook will last, if we will still be using it when we are middle aged, and if seeing such a film fifteen years from now would make us feel super old and irrelevant. The film got my wheels turning, and not just about Jesse Eisenberg’s adorable mop of hair. (I really need to stop looking him up on Google Images.)
The movie really took my friends and me on a trip down memory lane. I had forgotten all the different landing pages, interfaces, applications, and even a time when you had to type “TheFacebook.com” into your browser. I remember when “poking” was risqué and the day “the wall” was erected. I have actively maintained my Facebook account since August of 2004, my sophomore year of college, which means it’s been a major part of my daily routine for over six years. When I do a movie montage flashback reel of the time I’ve been using Facebook, a lot has changed not only in my life, but society as well.
Facebook revolutionized communication and how we connect with people. There have been other social networks like the short lived Friendster and spammy MySpace, but none of them spread like Facebook. Not only did Facebook just do social networking better, but it was cool. Like, really cool. The movie touched on the fact that Mark Zuckerberg waited as long as he could to avoid monetizing the blooming site. The reason for the delay was the cool factor; he wanted to let the site become so cool that when he did introduce advertising, people would still use it anyways. Facebook advertising has certainly grown since then, and has made it very easy for companies to connect with their target audience.
OK, so I’ve embarrassingly admitted that Facebook has been an integral part of my daily routine for the better half of the past decade, but to what extent? Let’s just say I’ve gotten to a point where I have my laptop in front of me anytime I watch TV and my boyfriend frequently threatens a Facebook intervention. Television just isn’t stimulating enough. I have to be browsing the Internet, or Facebook, while I watch my previously recorded episodes of Gossip Girl and 90210. However, I’m never on the computer when Mad Men is on because I couldn’t possibly miss one moment of Don Draper’s scandalous antics.
Now here’s where my seemingly therapeutic rant becomes relevant (only five paragraphs in). Realizing how much I am on the Internet just stalking people from high school on Facebook, online shopping, reading Perez Hilton, and watching inane videos about rainbows made me think about advertising. It’s always been easy to flip past a magazine ad or change the station on a radio. Now with the advent of the DVR, we don’t even need to see those very pricey thirty second television commercials. This made me come to a very important conclusion: the only ads I have no control over are online.
While I am fast forwarding through Glee’s commercial breaks, I am STILL looking at ads online. Whether I am seeing these ads on Facebook, Google search, or even on the blogs and online stores I frequent, I am subconsciously and consciously viewing ads. This revelation made my current job and industry seem more relevant than ever. It seems as though my generation is not only on Facebook for a chunk of the day, but we’re probably the most willing demographic to make an online purchase. We’ve grown up with online shopping and feel completely safe shelling out our credit card number to shopping sites. Now that we’ve begun to make some real adult money, we are not only willing, but able to purchase that collectors’ edition of the Dawson’s Creek DVD box set (Pacey!) because we LOVE waxing nostalgia about the nineties. The scary thing is, we don’t even think twice about entering all of our personal information onto a site anymore.
The Social Network really made me rethink my early twenties and how Facebook and the Internet have shaped who I have become. I could overanalyze my life, both on and offline, for hours on end. But the one nugget of truth that is extremely relevant is how advertising has evolved.
Facebook just partnered with Bing, an underdog search engine, as Mark Zuckerberg has called it. This pioneers the realm of “Social Search,” which seems to be a culmination of the past few years. This is a great example of how Facebook has truly revolutionized the way we search, and in turn, how advertisers can reach us. This partnership will allow us to “like” articles on the search engine, and be able to see what our friends “like.” Online advertisers have never had it easier to target customers.
Perhaps working at The Search Agency has made me hyperaware of online marketing, but honestly, I think it’s just really interesting from both sociological and business standpoints. So, I suggest you see the movie because it’s amazing to see where Facebook came from, and where it is now. Also, you’re going to love precious Jesse (Eisenberg) and Justin (Timberlake) acting like a couple of badass nerds.