Growing Up On Facebook

Let me see, when I turned 13 I was in 7th grade.  I was really into skateboarding and freestyling on my Haro (remember Haro bikes?)  It’s also when I started learning how to type.  And I didn’t learn on a web based typing class.  Oh no – I learned on an electric typewriter!  The reason I’m reminiscing about being 13 is because today, being 13 years old means you are old enough to create a Facebook profile.

Did you know that Facebook had a minimum age requirement?   That’s right, and that age requirement is 13.  But let’s think about this a little deeper – let’s think about the impact and being 13 years old and starting on Facebook.  I think you’ll be amazed at the implications!

So I’ve had my Facebook profile for around 2 years.  Maybe less, but certainly not any longer than that.  And in 2 years I now have somewhere around 250 friends.  Some are friends I grew up with, others are business associates.  There are some I have no idea how we became friends, nor who they are.  And others are current or previous clients.  Regardless, it’s 250 people that get updates from me each and every time I post something new in my Facebook profile.

I know that 250 friends in under 2 years isn’t a huge number.  Some people have over a thousand friends in less time.  But let’s do some math here for the 13 year old – let’s assume I’m now 15 years old (I started on Facebook when I was 13, and now 2 years later I’m 15 and have 250 friends).  I think in reality, kids in high school probably accumulate friends a whole lot faster than adults because high school is such a social environment.  But nonetheless, I’ll stick with my numbers for the example.

So I’m now 15 years old and accumulating approximately 125 friends each year.  At this rate, by the time I graduate high school at the age of 18 I will have 625 friends.

Now I’m off to college for another 4 years, and another 500 friends (125 x 4).  Which now takes me to 1125 friends when I graduate high school.  Again, this number is probably way undercutting the reality of the number of friends someone like this would have – in reality, I’m guessing someone who starts on Facebook at the age of 13 could have thousands of friends by the time they are 22 years old.

Anyway, let me stick to my numbers.  I’m going to graduate college with 1,125 Facebook friends.

And this really brings me to my point about starting out on Facebook when you are 13 years old, and how it can affect your life.  Imagine this same person now, just graduating from college, over 1100 friends on Facebook that they’ve grown up with through high school and college.

Imagine the networking capabilities and potential of someone in that situation.  Imagine the “crowd sourcing” potential that can be leveraged at any moment, with simply sending out one little Facebook update.

I can’t imagine it would take very long for someone like this to find the perfect they were looking for coming out of college.  Or finding resources to travel, plan, network, and establish their adventure.

Again, with a simple Facebook update and few pointed questions (or requests), this person could very easily be flooded with opportunities – all of which would be coming directly from people they grew up and share their college experience with.’

I don’t know… for some reason this morning I started thinking about these things.  Maybe it’s because I have small children at home, and I’m thinking about what kind of role Facebook will play in their lives.

Maybe it’s because I’m thinking about how technology is impacting and changing our future, and how it can be leveraged and resourced regardless of how old or young you are.

And maybe, just maybe, I’m excited about the fact that when used in a productive and honorable fashion, social networks like Facebook can truly play a positive and influential role in our lives!