Believe it or not Facebook turned 12 this year, and to celebrate the company decided to include all its users in the celebration. Every user on Facebook was greeted with a special video showcasing his or her experience on Facebook since first joining. To mark this occasion the company decided to call the day ‘Friends Day.’ Users could watch and share their pre-made video, or could chose to edit their clip to put in photos of their choice.
While there was also a small celebration for the core team working at Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted the moment to be about all of the users, and not the team, because he wants to make sure the focus remains on “the needs of the community . . . that’s the whole point of Friends Day.”
Another aspect of Friends Day was the updated data on degrees of separation, which has been slowly declining thanks to the popular social network. How close are you, or how many degrees away are you, from your favorite celebrity, next dating partner, or long-lost family member? The famously known number calculated by scientists and philosophers alike is 6, but Facebook claims to have driven that number down to 3.57, and they want to keep going. The more connections we make, the closer we become to connecting the entire world.
While you are probably already connected with your close friends and family on Facebook, what you are missing are those friends and people you know less well, known as “weak ties.” For example, the person you met during your one semester abroad, or your old coworker from the last job you had. While they may not be part of your life today, they are part of your overall network, and Facebook wants you to connect. With over 1 billion daily active users, that’s a lot of connections.
No social movement is without its criticisms, and Facebook has received its fair share. Over the years, popularity on Facebook has become an important social status. The more friends you have or likes you receive, the more popular you are, and the happier you are- right? Maybe not. In fact, a recent study shows humans can only handle about 150 friendships. Adding those coworkers, distant family members, or old friends you have lost touch with may be causing you stress, as it is more people to keep up with that without Facebook, never would happen.
There is no doubt that there are many positives to using Facebook, as it is a great tool to keep connected with those individuals you genuinely care about. As for the rest of those connections, well, that’s for you to decide.