Mark Zuckerberg took his biggest step into becoming one of the most influential people in the world 15 years ago today, when his new social networking site, The Facebook, went live.
Today, more than 2 billion people worldwide use Facebook to share memes, get into arguments with family members and yell into the cloud about whatever it is that is annoying them at the moment. But in 2004, The Facebook started as a site that was only available to students at Harvard, where Zuckerberg went to school. A month later, it expanded to Columbia, Stanford and Yale, before eventually being opened up to all colleges in the U.S. and Canada, with a .edu email address being required to register.
Having already graduated college when The Facebook came into existence, I didn’t register for an account until late 2007. It was the third social networking site I joined, after Friendster and then Myspace. I liked Friendster. It was simple and didn’t require a whole lot of effort. The amount of time you needed to spend maintaining a social account just kept growing, though, and by the time I signed on to Facebook, there were games and people tagging you in notes about themselves and photos and fan pages and I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.
The world was a bit simpler in 2004, but there’s no going back to that now, is there? If Facebook ever gets shut down for being terrible, there will be other sites to take it over. And you’ll forever be followed by people you went to high school with but had no real intention of talking to or hanging out with again (obviously, I don’t mean you… I meant other people, of course!).