5 Years for Facebook. What's Next?

-Facebook 2004 Screenshot-Facebook is 5 years old today, and the social network has admittedly come a long way in those few years. Just take a look at the album Facebook posted, chronicling the layout of profiles from 2005 until now. But what does this 5 year milestone really mean for Facebook? It means that we can all take this opportunity to see what Facebook has planned to ensure it can celebrate another 5 birthdays.

All Things Digital took today’s birthday as an opportunity to reflect on Zuckerberg’s plans for Facebook shortly after launching the website from Harvard’s campus. There’s an air of foreshadowing, considering Zuckerberg didn’t want to sell Facebook then and has stuck to many of his core principles surrounding Facebook ever since.

Even Zuckerberg’s own Facebook birthday blog post highlights the objectives Zuckerberg still holds dear to his heart when it comes to Facebook and its ongoing potential–to become a place where people can openly share information about themselves with each other, initiating conversations about a given topic and encouraging global discussions through Facebook’s social network. Idealistic as this may sound, Facebook has in many ways become just that, for the good, bad and the ugly.

So as the dominating social network, is Facebook still on the right track? As far as social networks go, there’s been an overriding tendency for them to become fads. Yet many still see Facebook as having longevity potential, and have even compared it to Google from a Silicon Valley startup success story perspective. The article at All Things Digital went on to compare Facebook at 5 years with Google at 5 years, and with estimates for Facebook’s valuation being far lower than Google’s at 5 years of age, Facebook may still have some work to do.

While the two companies are different in many ways, the idea that Facebook could become a major centralizing service for individuals interacting on the web means that its permeability could be far reaching. As with Google, future growth may be tied with the economy Facebook has created with its Platform and Facebook Connect. Facebook also continues to create native apps in hopes of bringing users back to the site, as the company still needs to compete with the other social networks that are out there.

And yet there is still room for improvement, especially in regards to the economy that Facebook could create for further empowering third party developers, end users and itself. The open communication Facebook founder Zuckerberg seeks isn’t always the direct byproduct of individuals’ interaction within the social network, yet such idealism continues to drive many of the concepts behind ongoing projects at Facebook. I’m not exactly sure what the next 5 years will hold for Facebook, but I can’t wait to find out

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