FaceBook and other Social Networking


What is it? I really could not find the best term to describe it, but it is the place where I hang out most now, even more than MSN, and stuff like that. I use it to keep contacts of my long lost friends, and some (few) new friends. Most of them are my school mates, and some from work environment (you see, I have to see those work colleagues every now and then, and since they are already part of my life, why should I run into Cyber, and having them bother me again?)

There is good excerpt from Wikipedia describing FaceBook, and I would drop them here (for the sake of completeness, for me!)

FaceBook, formerly The FaceBook, is a popular, free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organised by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.

Mark Zuckerberg founded FaceBook while he was a student at Harvard University. Website membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It later expanded further to include any university student, then high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over. The website currently has more than 150 million active users worldwide.

FaceBook has met with some controversy over the past few years. It has been blocked intermittently in several countries including Syria and Iran. It has also been banned at many places of work to increase productivity. Privacy has also been an issue, and it has been compromised several times. It is also facing several lawsuits from a number of Zuckerberg's former classmates, who claim that Facebook had stolen their source code and other intellectual property.

The Portal

FaceBook users may choose to join one or more networks, organised by city, workplace, school, and region. These networks help users connect with members of the same network. Users can also connect with friends, giving them access to their friends' profiles.

The website is free to users, but generates revenue from advertising. This includes banner ads. Users can create profiles including photos and lists of personal interests, exchange private or public messages, and join groups of friends. By default, the viewing of detailed profile data is restricted to users from the same network and "reasonable community limitations". Microsoft is Facebook's exclusive partner for serving banner advertising, and as such Facebook only serves advertisements that exist in Microsoft's advertisement inventory. According to comScore, an internet marketing research company, Facebook collects as much data from its visitors as Google and Microsoft, but considerably less than Yahoo!, when compared with other web companies.


The media often compares Facebook to MySpace, but one significant difference between the two websites is the level of customisation. MySpace allows users to decorate their profiles using HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), while Facebook only allows plain text.

Facebook has a number of features for users to interact with. They include the Wall, a space on every user's profile page that allows friends to post messages for the user to see, Pokes, which allows users to send a virtual "poke" to each other (a notification that tells a user that they have been poked), Photos, where users can upload albums and photos, and Status, which allows users to inform their friends of their whereabouts and actions. A user's Wall is visible to anyone who is able to see that user's profile, which depends on their privacy settings. In July 2007, Facebook began allowing users to post attachments to the Wall, whereas the Wall was previously limited to textual content only.

Over time, Facebook has added several new features to its website. On September 6, 2006, a News Feed was announced, which appears on every user's homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays related to the user's friends. Initially, the News Feed caused dissatisfaction among Facebook users; some complained it was too cluttered and full of undesired information, while others were concerned it made it too easy for other people to track down individual activities (such as changes in relationship status, events, and conversations with other users). In response to this dissatisfaction, Zuckerberg issued an apology for the site's failure to include appropriate customisable privacy features. Since then, users have been able to control what types of information are shared automatically with friends. Users are now able to prevent friends from seeing updates about different types of activities, including profile changes, Wall posts, and newly added friends.

One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums and photos. Facebook allows users to upload an unlimited number of photos, compared with other image hosting services such as Photobucket and Flickr, which apply limits to the number of photos that a user is allowed to upload. However, users are limited to 60 photos per album. Privacy settings can be set for individual albums, limiting the groups of users that can see an album. For example, the privacy of an album can be set so that only the user's friends can see the album, while the privacy of another album can be set so that all Facebook users can see it. Another feature of the Photos applications is the ability to "tag", or label users in a photo. For instance, if a photo contains a user's friend, then the user can tag the friend in the photo. This sends a notification to the friend that they have been tagged, and provides them a link to see the photo.

Facebook Notes was introduced on August 22, 2006, a blogging feature that allowed tags and embeddable images. Users were later able to import blogs from Xanga, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other blogging services. During the week of April 7, 2008, Facebook released a Comet-based instant messaging application called "Chat" to several networks, which allows users to communicate with friends and is similar in functionality to desktop-based instant messengers.

Facebook launched Gifts on February 8, 2007, which allows users to send virtual gifts to their friends that appear on the recipient's profile. Gifts cost $1.00 each to purchase, and a personalized message can be attached to each gift. On May 14, 2007, Facebook launched Marketplace, which lets users post free classified ads. Marketplace has been compared to Craigslist by CNET, which points out that the major difference between the two is that listings posted by a user on Marketplace are only seen by users that are in the same network as that user, whereas listings posted on Craigslist can be seen by anyone.

On July 20, 2008, Facebook introduced "Facebook Beta", a significant redesign of its user interface on selected networks. The Mini-Feed and Wall were consolidated, profiles were separated into tabbed sections, and an effort was made to create a "cleaner" look. After initially giving users a choice to switch, Facebook began migrating all users to the new version beginning September, 2008.

On December 11, 2008, it was announced that Facebook is testing out a new simpler signup process. (excerpt taken from Wikipedia)

So in my own word, it is great piece of Web Application I am using now to keep track of old friends. With its simple GUI, it enables me and others to keep in touch.

facebook You could always reach me there!




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