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Why is Facebook the leader of social media?

This is no rhetorical question, it is a fact. Facebook managed, few years after its launch in 2004, to become one of the most influential companies around the world, not to mention the idea of being the king of social networks, gathering more users1 and generating more income than its direct concurrent2. Our research aims to point out the quantitative and statistical performance developed by Facebook during the last month, focusing on the activity of a suite of technology news sites, such as CNET, PC World or PC Magazine. First of all, before analyzing Facebook's performance, it is mandatory to define Facebook`s identity, starting with the very idea of social networks. Recently, scholars have asked what is Facebook anyway? Unfortunately, a simple question like this issued a debate upon Facebook's true nature. From my point of view, the definition provided by E. A. Vander Veer seems to be the most comprehensible one: It`s a free-to-use, wildly popular social networking site which just means it`s a way to connect with other people that combines the best of blogs, online forums and groups, photo sharing and much more. By tracking the connections its members make with each other, Facebook makes it easy to find and contact people everyone from old friends and roommates to new customers, new bosses, and even folks you`ve never met before who share your interests (E.A. Vander Veer, 2011, p.1.). On the other hand, Marcia Amidon Lsted points out the inner dependence, that a social network could bring, transforming it into a modern addiction: For millions of Americans today, social networking has become a part of their daily routines. They come home from school or work, turn on their computers, and log onto Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. From the comfort of home, people can communicate with hundreds of friends at once by posting a status update or a tweet on Twitter (Marcia Amidon Lsted, 2011, p. 6). Though, the scholar hasn't anticipated the impact of Facebook's mobile app, launched at the end of 20113, which radically changed our mood for social networking. One can see people on the street anxious to answer back to any update on their Facebook wall or chatting during their subway ride, these concrete daily images sustain my idea that Facebook managed to become a virtual companion, not only a popular social network.

On April 2012, Facebook was declared to reach the limit of 1 billion users, an unmatched performance among social networks- Haydn Shaughnessy, articolul Facebook`s 1 billion users: Why the sky is still the limit, retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2012/10/04/facebooks-1-billion-users-why-the-sky-isstill-the-limit/, accesed on March 30, 2013. 2 According to the Guardian, in 2006, Facebook praised itself of generating a profit estimated at $2 billionSarah Philips, article A brief history of Facebook, retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia, accesed on March 30, 2013. 3 Christina Warren, article Facebook apps just got more mobile-friendly, retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/10/10/facebook-platform-mobile/, accesed on March 31, 2013.

Since we have included Facebook inside the general category of social networks, we should continue our deductive approach, by establishing the particular features developed by Facebook as social network. Naturally, being popular, yet controversial, scholars' ideas tend to become ambiguous. From the fast emerging literature dedicated to Facebook phenomenon, I selected the most accurate descriptions. For instance, Matthew Millier attempts to highlight the differences between Facebook and similar social networks: While MySpace houses the creative souls and LinkedIn fosters professional relationships, Facebook appeals to everyone across the board. Facebook not only has the capability to do all the things that these other aforementioned sites enable, but it is also socially accepted to do so on this social network. On Facebook you can post your artsy pictures, connect with your boss and colleagues, and game with friends on Farmville all in one. Facebook is for your daughter and your father; your business and your best friend (Matthew Miller, 2011, p.3.). Sarah K. Foregger, developing her doctoral thesis on Uses and Gratifications of Facebook, mentioned that the social network is an anthropological tool of characterizing the contemporary society, as follows: Just four short years ago, the word Facebook was no part of the millennial college student's lexicon. Today, Facebook is not only an integral part of college student's vocabulary, but it has also become a verb. Students exclaim to new acquaintances, I'm going to facebook you! They gossip about what has recently facebooked them. They spend time facebooking. Facebook has become, like Google before it, something to do (Sarah K. Foregger, 2008, p. 1.). For Todd Kelsey, Facebook is a story, a modern interpretation of carpe diem concept: I believe that when you capture, preserve and share your story, there's bound to be someone, somewhere, who will be interested and find some meaning in it (and quite possibly, find some strength in it). Comparing with similar social networks, Facebook includes the advantage of a personal digital archaeology, meaning there is easier for an user to go back to old information posted on his/her account, in addition he/she, following a simple link, can direct to friends' walls, creating the feeling of instant interactivity (Todd Kelsey, 2010, p. 3). In the end of our theoretical description, I find it interesting to reveal the thoughts about Facebook of a person that worked for the company. Karel Baloun was one of the faceless founders of Facebook, putting his creativity in service of the social network between 2004 and 2006. Being fired by Mark Zuckerberg, his opinions might be subjective, as consequence I took in account only the concrete facts about the social network, such as its global performance. Karel Baloun admits that Facebook is no. 1 in the amount of time spent on-site by visiting users4. One key of Facebook's success was its youthful touch, being the most important site for folks in college. Facebook is the most successful privately held, closed social network (Karel M. Baloun, 2006, p. 6).

In order to sustain this idea, the author brings to discussion a study developed by ComScore's Media Metrix in 2006, pointing that Facebook was the site where the majority of social networks' users spent their time- Karel M, Baloun, 2006, p.7.

Our concrete research on Facebook is focused on Robert Yin's pattern. We are willing to demonstrate how do technology news sites promote on Facebook. To the question Why did they choose Facebook as a promoting tool, there is no need to insist, since they focus on technology issues and Facebook in one of them. Another question included in our approach is related to Who follow the online activity of these brands, seasoned with an additional inquiry What do users perform on technology news sites' walls. Gathering relevant fata related to last month of activity on Facebook, we are willing to draw a quantitative and statistical report. Taking in account Robert Yin's taxonomy, our approach will be an exploratory one, attempting to reveal facts related to the inner mechanism of a certain process (Robert Yin, 2009, p. 9).

Bibliography

1. Baloun, Karel M. (2006). Inside Facebook. Copyright Karel Baloun, a pdf book available through inquiry on karel@fbbook.com. 2. Foregger, Sarah K. (2008). Doctoral thesis Uses and Gratifications of Facebook.com.
Michigan State University.

3. Kelsey, Todd. (2010). Social networking spaces: from Facebook to Twitter and everything in
between. New York: Springer.

4. Lsted, Marcia Amidon. (2011). Social networking: MySpace, Facebook & Twitter. Minnesota: ABDO Publishing Company. 5. Miller, Matthew. (2011). Facebook Companion. Indianapolis: Wiley Publishing. 6. Veer, Vander E. A. (2011). Facebook: The Missing Manual. Sebastopol: O`Reilly Media. 7. Yin, Robert K. (2009). Case Study Research. Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage
Publications.

Online sources:

1. Sarah

Philips,

article

brief

history

of

Facebook,

retrieved accesed

from on

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/jul/25/media.newmedia, March 30, 2013.

2. Haydn Shaughnessy, article Facebook`s 1 billion users: Why the sky is still the limit, retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/haydnshaughnessy/2012/10/04/facebooks1-billion-users-why-the-sky-is-still-the-limit/, accesed on March 30, 2013. 3. Christina Warren, article Facebook apps just got more mobile-friendly, retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/10/10/facebook-platform-mobile/, accesed on March 31, 2013.