Henry Jenkins describes the Web 2.0 as a service-based platform predominantly composed of user-generated content where intelligence is shared and user data has monetizable value. I will be talking about Facebook, one of the most prominent platforms that arose from the Web 2.0, and its incredible influence and reach that has revolutionized our generation. I will be sharing the impact it has had on my personal life as well as its impact on businesses and advertising.
From the day I first created my account, Facebook has always been an influential part of my life. Especially coming from Panama, Facebook has allowed me to easily connect with other parts of the world and maintain long distance friendships. I even met my college roommate and best friend through Facebook. Creating images, documenting memories, and connecting with people have always played a central role in my life. From a young age I remember getting together with friends dressing up and making funny videos and pictures. In any social event I was always the one with the camera taking pictures of everyone and everything, many times in excessive amounts. Both my grandmothers are photographers, so cameras and pictures always surrounded me, and I came to learn the value and power Images hold.
“In the informal gift economy, the failure to share material is socially damaging.” –Jenkins
When I first heard about a new platform called Facebook, where you were able to create, upload, and share pictures with friends I could not have been more excited. I first created my account in 2007 when I was 10 years old, and immediately became a very active user. I remember uploading albums for every single event and relying heavily on the “tag” feature in order to easily share and engage with friends. It was all so new and exciting. These were the earlier stages of Facebook before there existed the certain Facebook culture we have today. No one really knew the rules of the game yet or how powerful Facebook would become. Facebook quickly became a central part of my day-to-day life, and in hindsight I can say that it had a huge influence on my childhood development and character building. It allowed me to expand my realm of connections, dive deeper into photography, and I began to emulate the fast past nature of its platform.
Not everything from Facebook was a positive experience, growing up a lot of drama arouse from my heavy use of Facebook. I remember several instances in middle school where friends would get upset at me for uploading pictures of them without their consent or pictures where they thought they looked bad. It got to a point where sometimes I felt marginalized within my friend group because I was much more interested in the world of Facebook than they were. They saw my use of Facebook as an obsession and my constant uploading of images as annoying. Looking back, I think I recognized something valuable in Facebook that many others did not stop to appreciate. Maybe it was because my school in Panama did not embrace technology or creativity, teachers would lecture the dangers of social media instead of the opportunities it withheld. Nonetheless, I appreciated Facebook’s platform, not only as a user but I understood the power it had and the movement it was creating. Today, most of my childhood friends are grateful for my use of Facebook and constant documentation because I am the only one who has images of our experiences and memories.
My Facebook profile clearly tells the story of my life, any important event, accomplishment, or experience appears somewhere within my profile. You can see the evolution of my life and how I grew up and changed throughout the years by simply looking at my profile pictures. For all of these reasons I have build a sentimental connection towards Facebook and the role it has played throughout my life.