To be honest, when Facebook launched in 2004, I didn’t even notice. Mostly because I was well out of college, already working at Apple for three years. When they threw open the doors to the general public in 2006, my interest was piqued. But I still didn’t sign up.
Their stated mission at the time, an “online directory that connects people“, just didn’t solve a problem for me. I had a carefully curated electronic address book, maybe even had a tidy stack of business cards in my desk. Plus, how long could this “social network” really stick around? I had already abandon my GeoCities page for MySpace, did we need another option?
That’s right, in 2006 I thought Facebook was a fad. And now in 2017, I still think it was.
Let me clarify. I did eventually sign up in 2007. Late to the game for an otherwise early adopter of technology. The first few months were full of pokes, Zynga games and low resolution photos. I was underwhelmed. Then word came of companies creating Groups as a vehicle to talk to brand fanatics and potential customers. Shortly after, Facebook Ads and the Business Page as we know it came along. Then it all made sense. Just like Radio, Newspapers and TV before it, Facebook transitioned into a medium for advertising.
Remember the old adage, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
So the Facebook of 2006 was indeed a fad. The idea of being a simple online directory was short lived. Facebook the company knew this, and pivoted quickly. Today, they masquerading as a social network. In reality, Facebook is an ad platform.