Exactly when did Facebook get mainstream?

Those of us who live in tech and read all the blogs have been speaking the language for years. We switched to Firefox back at version 1something, had @gmail.com addresses since when they were hard to get, and have forgotten more userIDs than most folks will ever have.

But from time to time something in tech clicks in the real world in a good way. You stop having to explain to “normal” friends and family what you’re talking about because they’re doing it, too. They start telling you about it as if it’s brand new, amazed that it existed for so long until you tell them.

Back in 1988 or so when I first started getting involved online, I had to explain to folks what a “modem” was. After a few years, I could say I was going “online” and even my grandmother knew what I meant. Then it was sites like Amazon and eBay.

Now, it’s happening with social networking. Nevermind that the blogs have been talking about it for ages. The rest of the world has caught up. They get it. Have you seen what’s happening with Facebook?!? The college kids are rolling their eyes. Online tech press consider it old news and they’re on to the next new shiny. In the meantime, Facebook has become mainstream relevant. When I joined Facebook in mid-2007, there wasn’t a single person from my high school class on it that I could find. None of my real-world friends and maybe just the kids of my cousins. For a 40something year-old, it was all only my tech-geek friends.

Not anymore. Over the last 6 months or so, I’ve connected on Facebook to people from every corner of my real-world life. Most have found me first (it helped that I added in my maiden name to my profile). Old classmates, family, distant friends and former colleagues. I can’t stand all the stupid applications (except for Causes), but I love reading status updates, seeing posts and photos and commenting. If I’m worried about someone I haven’t heard from in a while, I check their Facebook status first. Heck, even my mother is on Facebook. I still only accept friend requests from people I’ve either met in person or have had some personal connection with online.

Facebook has the most value when it’s used as it was intended. For fun and connection. I long stopped stressing the geeky bits and I just enjoy it for what it is.

Every once in a while it’s nice to look at the technology we use and see it the same way the rest of the world does. Doesn’t happen that often.


7 responses to “Exactly when did Facebook get mainstream?”

  1. Judi: I've thought about creating a facebook account but was concerned about hacking or being inundated with friend requests or other unwanted requests. I'd like to reconnect with some people and make it easier for some to find me but I wonder if it's worth it, and do I want to 'maintain' something like a Facebook page. Have the hacking and/or privacy settings improved?


    • Rick, I think so. I don't have Facebook notify me of anything via email. I block all applications requests, so while folks can comment on my status, write on my wall, tag me in photos or send me FB mail, I don't want to hug, poke, squeeze, or anything like that. The only application I actively use is Causes. So if you don't want the requests, then it's really easy enough now to get rid of them/block them out, compared to the way it was before.

  2. Judi: wanted to say thanks for the Facebook review and I'm including some wordpress info I just came across in one of my newsletters that might be of interest to you. Rick

    "As of Jan. 12, the latest version of the popular WordPress blogging platform, 2.7, has been downloaded nearly 1.12 million times. Of course, being so popular makes the program a common target for the bad guys.

    In the past couple of months, I've fixed at least six WordPress blogs that were hacked. If I've repaired that many, surely a lot of other WordPress experts have had to do the same.

    The WordPress platform is well designed, but the bad configuration habits and lack of security knowledge of users can leave a WordPress site vulnerable to attack. In fact, this is a problem for many Web applications.

  3. Part 2: Unfortunately, not many WordPress users are aware of the need to tighten the security of their blogs. Those who are aware often don't have the skills to secure their blogs themselves.

    That led to the development of Maximum Security for WordPress, a plug-in that adds over a dozen security features to the blogging system, all of which are available with a click of the mouse. These include stronger password security, automated file-permission adjustments, more-effective user account controls, audit controls, and extensive logging.

    The plug-in, which is currently in beta, scans themes and other add-ons for potentially malicious or dangerous code. It analyzes your site's security settings to discover weaknesses and includes a Web-application firewall and intrusion-prevention system that helps block cross-site scripting attacks, SQL injection, HTTP header manipulation, and other threats.

    If you use WordPress, head over to the Maximum Security page to sign up for the beta."