The Changing Face(book) of the Internet
Back in college at Boston University, I rose up the ranks at the school newspaper, from writer, to sports editor, to managing editor, finally serving as editor-in-chief and president of the board of trustees. One of the biggest stories during my semesters in charge was this seemingly harmless online application created across the river at Harvard. It was called Facebook, and I can say with much certainty, that I was among one of the first few-hundred people to have an account.
The site was created at Harvard, but through word-of-mouth — and this story in our paper, which led to in-depth features by the Boston Globe and New York Times in the proceeding months — BU was one of the first campuses added to the site. More than 200 BU students registered on the first day, and 6,300 were online within a month. We even broke a story that fall highlighting a claim from a rival site that the idea for facebook actually belonged to someone else.
These memories came back this morning, as I logged onto my facebook account and was hit with an invitation to join a facebook group for my old newspaper’s alumni club. It led me to a full-fledged website for the alumni club, complete with a form to add myself to the mailing list, photos of the new office, minutes from the most recent meeting of the alumni club’s board, and a page with the group’s objectives.
I was amazed, and impressed, because this was something we tried to do when I was still in college, but without much success. As an independent newspaper, we received no money from the university, and were behind on more than a few bills. So we brainstormed ways to bring former writers and editors (and their generous donations) into the fold. After all, the paper had been around for more than a quarter century at that point, and we had alumni with Pulitzer Prizes, high-profile positions, and even big-budget television and radio shows.
The thought that we could use facebook to reunite former alumni never even crossed our minds — and this was less than four years ago. Now, in the span of two days, more than 50 former staff members have joined the group, nearly all have likely visited the new website, and most of them have probably signed up. Apparently, once the tax forms go through, alumni will even be able to make donations via PayPal and credit cards. And since I owe so much of my college and post-college career to that dingy office (that has since been upgraded, apparently), I’ve even inquired about joining the group’s board of directors.
The point behind yet another one of my rambling stories, is that the Internet is an incredible thing. The fact that something exists now that wasn’t even a thought 36 months ago is amazing. People argue all the time that technology — and especially the Internet — are making us a divided, independent culture. But sites like facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, and the fading MySpace.com go against that idea, bringing together people that would’ve been separated forever just a decade ago.
At Dynamic Digital Advertising, we are always on the cutting edge of the newest and neatest technology. We understand social networking sites like these, and can integrate them into our clients’ projects. Most of all, we’re always willing to try new things. Just last week, a client asked if we could do something we’ve never even tried before. Without asking the programmers or designers, David quickly answered yes, because he is confident that we can make almost anything work.
And thanks to our talented team of web designers, copywriters, programmers, and video specialists, he’s right.