Facebook has led the world of social media for almost a decade now, but what is the secret behind its unprecedented prevalence? Facebook didn’t open the door to social media (MySpace and the like existed years before Facebook became a thing) nor did it offer a completely reformatted way of being a social media website at the time of its first rise to fame (unlike Twitter or Instagram for example, which were very different takes on what it meant to have an internet presence). So what is the ace up Facebook’s sleeve? How has it become the social media powerhouse that it is today, and what boundaries will it cross to continue its growth?
Perhaps the ace up Facebook’s sleeve is not one particular innovation performed by the company but instead its never-wavering focus on ways to be legitimately practical, if totally addictive. It started out by being a service and a way to share pictures on the internet, but as we know it’s now so much more than that. People can update their Facebooks they’re despite to confirm that ok being in a danger zone during some kind of natural disaster or terrorist act. Facebook has instant messaging and allows for posting videos. Life events, such as getting your braces off, can be announced to family members and friends through the useful service.
And that’s not even close to the full extent of that Facebook offers its users; Facebook recently started making the news available on its website, so people don’t have to leave their social media feed to skim articles about world events. Astonishingly, people can even make payments to each other using Facebook’s platform, a development that’s likely to be worrying to other payment apps like Venmo.
So with all of these conveniences paired with the social benefits and addictions that come with having a Facebook, it’s no wonder that so few people can seem to sign off of the service. Then there’s Facebook’s constant drive to find more and more new members, a drive so daringly ambitious that the company has taken up an interest in spreading access to the internet itself with the endgame being that Facebook’s services be accessible to more people. The company has offered free, if limited internet provision to some countries (Facebook was obviously among the websites made available) whose citizens lack the money or interest to pay for internet access.
Facebook has even started experimented with providing internet access via satellite lasers for countries that are open to having internet access but simply live on too difficult of terrain for the normal infrastructure necessary to internet access to be set in place. These are countries like the Philippines, where the national landscape is dotted with too many tiny islands to make fiber optic cables a tenable internet solution for the country’s residents. Afghanistan also poses a challenge to internet providers, as its difficult and mountainous terrain as well as the political unrest that has historically plagued the country together complicate any plans to set up infrastructure on the ground.