Food is an important part of every culture, including the culture inside of our company. Since our early days, we've offered free meals for the people that work at Facebook because it creates camaraderie among the diverse group of people working here and it lets us focus more of our time on building a better service.
As part of our food traditions, we observe cultural and religious holidays from around the world at CafeX, the name of our main cafeteria and kitchen in our headquarters office. As a global company with employees hailing from around... the world, we try to acknowledge and take part in as many of their diverse cultural celebrations as we can.
A few weeks ago, one of our engineers, Ali Heydari, approached me with the idea to host a Nowruz feast at Facebook. Nowruz, literally meaning "New Day," is an ancient Iranian festival observed by more than 300 million people and as a national holiday in 11 nations. It celebrates the start of the Iranian New Year, which was on March 20 this year.
The culinary team and I agreed to create a special menu for this holiday, but we first needed to research the food we would be preparing. When cooking traditional food, we like to be as authentic as possible. We asked a few of our employees of Iranian descent for their help with the feast and the table decorations.
Navid Mansourian from IT and Niloofar Nafici from our security team took members of our culinary team to a local Iranian restaurant Rose International Market, in Mountain View, Calif., so we could sample many of the dishes that would be on the menu.
Niloofar volunteered to set up the traditional Nowruz table, and Navid helped to create the menu and to work in the kitchen to ensure the food tasted authentic. Our menu included: lavash bread, mahi sefeed (white fish), kabab chenjeh (lamb kebab), jooje kabab (chicken kebab), borani esfenaaj (spinach and yogurt) and salad-e shirazi (tomato-cucumber salad).
Pedram Keyani from our site integrity team documented the preparations in this video:
This was the first time that we celebrated Nowruz at Facebook, but we have celebrated several other holidays and festivals. These include Thanksgiving, Christmas and Passover, as well as Holi, Durga Puja, Chinese New Year's and most recently, St. Patrick's Day.
Do you have a favorite holiday or festival meal from your culture that we haven't yet celebrated? Let us know by sharing it in comments. We'll choose our favorite and then prepare a special menu to honor it. We'll share the meal with you in future posts on the Facebook Page, so become a fan to get future updates.
Josef, Facebook's culinary overlord, is looking forward to cooking for your favorite holiday.
- by Josef L. Desimone on Monday, March 29, 2010 at 12:37pm
Food is an important part of every culture, including the culture inside of our company. Since our early days, we've offered free meals for the people that work at Facebook because it creates camaraderie among the diverse group of people working here and it lets us focus more of our time on building a better service.
- Topics: Working at Facebook
- by Ada Luz Restrepo Caicedo on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:27amThe following is part of our "Your Stories" series on different ways Facebook is used across the world. If you have a story you'd like to share with us, please submit it here.
A few years ago, Daniel Eley was backpacking in Latin America. Now, he is paralyzed from the shoulders down. After a life-changing injury, Dan has experienced what his sister Bridget calls "a revolution in human kindness" made possible through Facebook.
...Dan knew that he wanted to return to Latin America after first backpacking the Andes Mountains a few years ago. He didn't want to go back for the backpacking but to help those in need. That's why in 2007, Dan joined the non-profit Casa Alianza in Guatemala City to work with street children. He initially spent one year working in El Salvador, Brazil and Venezuela, and then last year went to Colombia to continue working for this cause.
On Jan. 1 of this year, while swimming in a river on the Colombian border with Brazil during his latest trip, Dan hit a rock and broke three of his vertebrae.
"He was four hours from death by the time he had been air ambulanced to la Clinica del Country in Bogotá," said his mother, Carolyn Eley. "He died three times and suffered terrible bedsores, one of which is still healing."
Despite the care he received in Colombia, Dan had to be transported to an intensive rehabilitation center in his hometown of Buckinghamshire, England. The cost of the air ambulance was approximately $130,000.
A good friend of the family, Diana Clift, decided to start a Facebook group called "Help Dan" with the sole purpose of helping Dan's friends and family communicate with him. However, no one expected that the idea would turn out to be a lifesaver. The page started on Jan. 3 with just a few friends from the U.K. who wanted to connect with Dan and soon rocketed to almost 9,000 members. The positive messages weren't the only thing that helped Dan get through this tragedy.
Members of the "Help Dan" group from all over the world, many of whom don't even know Dan, raised more than $160,000. Dan is now recovering from a bedsore in the Stoke Mandeville spinal rehabilitation unit in Buckinghamshire and recently began breathing without a ventilator.
"This 'Help Dan' campaign has now made Dan feel that his life is important, although he is terribly injured, at a time when he came close to giving up," said Carolyn, adding that Facebook is now the only way Dan communicates with his friends and "well-wishers" in Latin America and around the world.
Ada, an analyst on Facebook's Spanish user operations team, is looking for other inspiring Facebook stories.
Trabajador social vive "una revolución de la bondad humana"
El siguiente artículo es parte de la serie "Tus historias" sobre las diferentes maneras en que Facebook se utiliza alrededor del mundo. Si tienes una historia que te gustaría compartir con nosotros, por favor envíala aquí.
Hace unos años, el joven inglés Daniel Eley se encontraba de viaje en Latinoamérica. En la actualidad, está tetrapléjico. Tras un accidente que le cambió la vida, Dan ha experimentado lo que su hermana Bridget llama "una revolución de la bondad humana", posible gracias a Facebook.
Dan sabía que tras recorrer la cordillera de Los Andes hace algunos años, su destino era regresar a América Latina. Sin embargo, no quería volver como turista, sino para ayudar a quienes más lo necesitan. Así fue como en el 2007, Dan se unió a la organización sin fines de lucro "Casa Alianza" de la Ciudad de Guatemala para trabajar con niños de la calle. Dan trabajó después durante un año en El Salvador, Brasil y Venezuela, y el año pasado arribó a Colombia para continuar con su labor en esta causa.
Sin embargo, el primero de enero de este año, mientras se encontraba nadando en un río cerca de la frontera con Brasil, Dan chocó contra una roca, se quebró tres vértebras y quedó paralizado del cuello hacia abajo. "Para cuando lo trasladaron por ambulancia aérea a la Clínica del Country en Bogotá le quedaban cuatro horas de vida", comenta su madre, Carolyn Eley. Añade que Dan "murió tres veces y sufrió terribles úlceras cutáneas por pasar tanto tiempo en la cama, una de las cuales todavía no ha sanado".
A pesar del cuidado médico que recibió en Colombia, Dan tuvo que ser transportado a un centro de rehabilitación intensiva de su ciudad natal, en el condado inglés de Buckinghamshire. El costo de la ambulancia aérea rondó los $130.000 dólares.
Diana Clift, amiga de la familia Eley, decidió iniciar un grupo llamado "Help Dan" con el único propósito de permitir que los amigos y familiares de Dan pudieran comunicarse con él. No obstante, lo que nadie se esperaba era que esta idea se convirtiera en su salvación. La página empezó a funcionar el 3 de enero de este año con sólo unos amigos del Reino Unido que querían contactar con Dan, pero pronto se convirtió en una red de casi 9.000 miembros. Aun así, los mensaje de apoyo no fueron lo único que ayudó a Dan a sobrellevar esta tragedia.
Los miembros del grupo "Help Dan" provenientes de diferentes partes del mundo, muchos de los cuales ni siquiera le conocían, recaudaron más de $160.000 dólares. Dan se recupera ahora de una úlcera cutánea en la unidad de rehabilitación de lesiones vertebrales del hospital Stoke Mandeville, en Buckinghamshire, y hace sólo unos días que ha empezado a respirar por sí mismo.
"A pesar de su terrible lesión, la campaña 'Help Dan' ha hecho que Dan sienta que la vida es importante en un momento en que estuvo a punto de renunciar a ella", recuerda Carolyn, añadiendo también que Facebook es ahora el único medio que Dan usa para comunicarse con sus amigos y con aquellos que, desde Latinomérica y el resto del mundo, le escriben para desearle que se mejore.
Ada, analista del equipo de operaciones de usuarios en español de Facebook, busca más historias tan inspiradoras como ésta.
- Topics: Your Stories
- by Meenal J. Balar on Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 10:58pm
I've always had a deep connection to India, even though I grew up in the United States. I've spent a lot of time in the country, and though it took a while to learn my way around my family's hometown in rural Gujarat and even longer to study the languages my parents speak, it didn't take any time at all to learn what truly stirs passion in most Indians around the world: cricket.
Despite my limited exposure to the sport in the U.S., cricket season in India seems to turn everyone there into an avid fan. I become drawn to the heated debates about... the best wicketkeepers and bowlers, and impressed at the intensity of team rivalries like India vs. Pakistan or England vs. Australia. Sharing this experience with my family members while I'm there makes me feel so much more connected to them and to the country—but it's very challenging to carry over this energy and excitement when I'm back home in the States.
As the popularity of cricket increases worldwide, more fans are bringing their passionate conversations online and onto Facebook. With more than 400 million people around the world on Facebook, including 8 million in India, fans can keep sharing in the excitement about cricket even when they're far away from the pitch.
While cricket fervor is quickly gaining momentum, especially now at the height of the Indian Premiere League (IPL), staying connected through Facebook Pages and Facebook Connect can help elevate it to a whole new level.
Show Your Team Allegiance
By becoming a fan of the Indian Premiere League Page, you can receive updates about key matches, discover interesting content and connect with other fans around hot IPL topics. Many league teams, such as the Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals , also have Facebook Pages where you can engage with other fans and get exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at your favorite teams and players.
Cricket news sites such as ESPN Cricinfo also provide real-time updates on the IPL and international cricket through their Facebook Page, share exclusive photos and videos, and offer fans with a forum to discuss everything and anything about the sport.
Connect with Cricket Everywhere
Facebook Connect lets people bring their real identity and friends with them wherever they are, whether online or on devices like a mobile phone. For instance, by logging into Facebook on websites like ESPN Cricinfo, you can easily share articles and comments back to your friends on Facebook.
Sites like Indiagames.com have also launched a series of exclusive web and mobile IPL cricket games that are powered by Facebook Connect. IPL Indiagames T20 Fever is an online game where you can select friends and buy virtual versions of popular IPL players to build your own cricket teams, and then compete for a chance to become the next IPL Champion.
IPL Indiagames T20 Fever can also be found on the iPhone, where people can use Facebook Connect for iPhone to build and manage their teams while on the go.
Through our Facebook Connect Live Feed widget, fans can even have a real-time conversation with friends, other fans and cricket players. Stay tuned this Saturday for a live web chat with Dinesh Karthik, captain of the Delhi Daredevils, powered by Facebook and Livestream. Dinesh will be one of the first IPL players to chat live on Facebook with fans about his experiences at IPL and his views on the rest of the season.
As someone who's experienced cricket firsthand in India, I'm excited that more people can share their passion for IPL and international cricket. Because of their authentic connections on Facebook, fans now can participate in the same heated "living-room" debates about the world's best bowlers, wicketkeepers, and team rivalries—regardless of where they are.
Meenal, a manager on Facebook's international growth team, is patiently waiting for Team Bhavnagar.
- by Michael Richter on Friday, March 26, 2010 at 12:04pm
Nearly a year ago, we committed to an open and transparent system of governance for Facebook. Specifically, we now post all proposed changes to our governing documents before they go into effect and solicit feedback on these proposals from the people who use Facebook. Since we started this unique process—in fact, we think we're the only major online service that does this—we've gone through several successful rounds of changes, and your comments have been invaluable to the process.
All web services occasionally have to change their governing... documents to accommodate new products. They just may not tell you about these changes, much less give you advance notice. Today, we're giving you that notice and beginning the process of listening to your feedback.
So, today, we explain some of these policy changes, and sometime soon—when we're done designing and coding—we'll have more product details to announce. It is important to note that, while we're still developing many aspects of these products, user control over privacy remains essential to our innovation process and we'll continue to develop new tools to help you control the things you share on Facebook.
As always, we encourage you to review the newest proposed changes in their entirety and provide your own thoughts on the Facebook Site Governance Page.
Here are some of the biggest updates, a few of which are simply clarifications or further explanations of things that already happen today:
So, we've removed the old language and, instead added the concept of a "place" that could refer to a Page, such as one for a local restaurant. As we finalize the product, we look forward to providing more details, including new privacy controls.
Sharing and Connections
Facebook is primarily about two things: Connecting with the people, places, and things that are important to you, and sharing information and content that you post with your friends and others. When you connect with a person through a friend request, or with a thing by joining a group or becoming a fan of a Page, that's a two-way public connection. You can control how the connection is presented on your profile, but it might be discovered in other ways, such as by going to the friend's profile or on the group's list of members.
When you share a link or photo on your profile, however, that's a one-way action, and you have complete control over who can access that content through your privacy settings.
This is exactly how Facebook works today, but we've added language to be even clearer.
Applications and Third-Party Websites
As we evolve our platform, our goal is to give you more ways to connect and share with your friends, not just on Facebook but also around the web.
Today, when you use applications such as games on Facebook.com or choose to connect to Facebook on sites across the web, you are able to find and interact with your friends. These applications require a small set of basic information about you in order to provide a relevant experience. After feedback from many of you, we announced in August that we were moving toward a model that gives you clearer controls over what data is shared with applications and websites when you choose to use them.
Finally, we've made a series of smaller changes to better explain how different aspects of Facebook work. For example, we've explained why invitations that non-users receive to join Facebook sometimes include the names of other people besides the person who sent the invitation. This is because those people have imported their own contact lists to Facebook, and those contact lists include the invited person's email address.
We've also explained the "Everyone" setting in more detail. People still own the information they post to Facebook, but the "Everyone" setting is designed to enable people to share content as broadly as possible. To enable this distribution, we allow others to see, access, display, export, distribute and redistribute content set to "Everyone" and we've tried to make this even clearer.
Finally, we've explained how people can sync their contact lists—such as on a mobile device—with information they have access to on Facebook.
We hope you'll take the time to review all of the changes we're proposing and share your comments. We're sending out updates to everyone's Inbox to notify you of the changes, and we encourage you to become a fan of the Facebook Site Governance Page to follow future updates. We look forward to reading your feedback.
Michael Richter is deputy general counsel for Facebook.
- by Adam D. I. Kramer on Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:34pmUPDATE on Tuesday, March 23, 2010: Data team intern Lisa Zhang expanded our Gross National Happiness index today to English speakers in the UK, Canada and Australia with new graphs for each nation. We applied the same model separately to each of the countries in order to control for cultural differences in how people use language. While this precludes us from determining whether Canadians are happier than Australians or vice versa, we have found a few interesting facts:
As before, we analyzed the number of positive and negative words in English status updates for these nations. This was done on anonymous data, and no one at Facebook read any of the actual status messages. Read more about the research from our data team.
- Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are still among the happiest... days for all of these nations, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday are happiest days of the week.
- Canadians are happier the day before Canadian Thanksgiving (a Sunday) than on the actual Canadian Thanksgiving Day (a Monday).
- Australia's index was lowest on Feb. 13, 2008—the day Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized in Parliament to indigenous Australians—reflecting the 4 percent of Aussie status updates containing the word "sorry."
- Happiness levels in the UK seem to have the least variation, with the fewest large peaks among all the graphs due to holidays.
Originally Published Monday, Oct. 5, 2009
Every day, through Facebook status updates, people share how they feel with those who matter most in their lives. These updates are tiny windows into how people are doing. They're brief, to the point, and descriptive of what's going on this week, today or right now.
Grouped together, these updates are indicative of how we are collectively feeling. At Facebook, we're always looking for ways to help people better understand the world around them, and we're interested in how people express their emotions with one other and the world. So earlier this year, data scientists at Facebook started a project to measure the overall mood of people from the United States on Facebook, based on the sentiment expressed in status updates.
The result was an index that measures how happy people on Facebook are from day-to-day by looking at the number of positive and negative words they're using when updating their status. When people in their status updates use more positive words—or fewer negative words—then that day as a whole is counted as happier than usual.
Though more countries or languages may be added later, the current result is notable since it is based on the updates of all English-speaking U.S. Facebook users. In this sense, it can count as an indicator of "Gross National Happiness," a metric only measured currently via Gallup polls and national surveys in countries such as France and Bhutan. To protect your privacy, no one at Facebook actually reads the status updates in the process of doing this research; instead, our computers do the word counting after all personally identifiable information has been removed.
For our Gross National Happiness index, we adapted a collection of positive and negative emotion words built by social psychologists. Examples of positive or happy words include "happy," "yay" and "awesome," while negative, or unhappy words, include "sad," "doubt" and "tragic." We also did a brief survey of some Facebook users, which showed that people who use more positive words, relative to the number of negative words, reported higher satisfaction with their lives.
Over time, we've seen spikes in the index for different days of the year. Some of the happiest days include U.S. national holidays like Thanksgiving and Fourth of July, social holidays like Halloween and religious holidays including Christmas and Easter. Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008—when the U.S. was celebrating the election of President Barack Obama—was over twice as happy as the average Wednesday.
It's not all rosy, though: The index also shows two remarkably unhappy days. The lowest was Jan. 22, 2008, which was the day the Asian stock market crashed and coincidentally the same day as the tragic death of actor Heath Ledger. The recent death of cultural icon Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009, came in as the second least happy day in the past two years.
How happy will all of us be tomorrow, on our birthdays or during the World Cup? It depends on you and what you decide to share about how you're feeling with your friends through your status updates.
Adam, a Ph.D. student in social psychology at the University of Oregon and an intern on Facebook's data team, is 72 percent happier than the average person on Facebook.
- by Matt Hicks on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 10:19amAt Facebook, we're constantly connecting with interesting people—from experts and researchers to celebrities or visitors to our office. Occasionally, we'll share these conversations on the Facebook blog in our "Connecting with..." series.
Chuck Martin and a team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire's Whittemore School of Business & Economics recently found that the amount of time students spend using social media and services like Facebook does not affect their grades. I talked with Martin, a lecturer at the school and the CEO of... organizational research firm NFI Research, about those findings as well the use of social media in his classroom and its impact on the workplace. Martin is the author of eight business books, including his soon-to-be released "Work Your Strengths."
You and a team of researchers recently looked at the correlation between using social media and grades. What would you say is the big finding from your perspective?
The big finding is that there is actually no correlation between the amount of time that students spend using social media and their grades. We found that basically the heavy users and the light users get pretty much the same grades.
In addition to the finding that there isn't a correlation, what were some of the results about just how much students are using social media?
For the purposes of the study, we considered social media to be Facebook, YouTube, blogs, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.... This study was very wide. It was 1,100-plus students out of the 12,000 at the university, and we surveyed every college at the university.
But of the heavy users of social media, 63 percent got high grades, and of the light users, 65 percent got high grades. So there is no real difference between the two. And of the heavy Facebook users, 62 percent got high grades. The light Facebook users, 62 percent got high grades. It was identical.
And did that surprise you?
It didn't. Interestingly, the hypothesis of the students was that there would be no correlation and they were correct. But if you talk to any adults, adults were totally surprised by this. And adults and parents typically have the view that you need to spend more time on your homework and less time on your social media so that your grades stay high. Well, it turns out that it makes no difference.
Why do you think there is this disconnect? Is this just a generational gap, or something about how people use (social media) differently?
It's not just generational, it's actually behavioral. If you look at the students today, they have grown up with things like Facebook and YouTube and blogs and so forth, so it's not a separate thing. In the early days of the web, people would be at work or school and they would start surfing the web and two hours later they would come back and say, "What was I looking for? I forgot."
They basically got lost in the experience, and today with social media it's actually become integrated with people's lives. So it's not a separate thing where people leave life and go do (social media). It actually has become part of what they do every day....
They have a multitasking ability that's a little different?
I created a course for the university called "Social Media in Marketing." (During class) we had my presentation on the screen live, and we were dipping in and out of the web. We had a live Twitter feed projected to a large screen, and we had a third screen with another projection, where we had a back channel so that people could communicate anonymously on the big screen.... There were three big screens in front of the classroom with three live network feeds, and we also had video and we had people patched in by Skype.
Everybody in the room used a computer for the entire three-hour class, and they were encouraged and actually did interact. They were tweeting with people around the country during the class about the content, and people were tweeting from outside the classroom from different parts of the country with questions that we would then tackle as a group.
And it turns out that the engagement level of the students was higher than a traditional classroom. We talked to a neuropsychologist, who is actually one of my co-authors, about this multitasking aspect and his view was that it's not really multitasking. It's really using different media simultaneously on the same subject matter.
That's really fascinating because the conventional wisdom is, "Oh, this is just a distraction from paying attention to the lecture."
Right, we had people come in and monitor the class. We had trustees or we had the finance people, and they were all astounded by what they were seeing. Every class was longer than it was supposed to be because we couldn't really get the students to stop.
Do you find that it extends the conversation outside the actual class, and are there other ways of using things like Facebook beyond the lecture?
We actually, for that course, ran the course on Facebook.... Since this was social media, we decided that we needed to use social media and we created the course on a private (Facebook) group. So all of the members of the class were in the group, and then each of the (study) groups created their own Facebook groups for their teams. The difference between that and a traditional course was the course then ran 24/7 because people were having conversations about the content all the time.... We will be teaching this course again in the summer and will be using Facebook for that as well.
Thinking further out, though, do you think that more classrooms will begin to adopt this idea of using social media both in the class and outside?
When we were doing the social media course...we had requests from outside the classroom from other parts of the country that they wanted a live streaming feed. So one time we just streamed it live onto the Net, and that's because of the demand. It's not necessarily because the teacher said he wished to do this. It's because the market said, "Hey, we should do this." Once you use the back channel in a classroom, for example, and it's highly interactive, it's difficult not to have it.
Where do you see Facebook and social media fitting into the workplace moving forward? What would be your advice to business leaders?
Let (employees) do it and encourage it. It's just like in the classroom: The great fear of adults for our class was that (we would have) all these people behind computer screens and that they weren't going to be paying attention to the class (but) going to be shopping and doing all these other things online.
Nobody did that, nobody. It just didn't happen, and if that happened it would mean that I was failing as a teacher.
It's the same thing in business. If you let your employees do their work more effectively, they will work more effectively.
Matt, a manager on Facebook's communications team, passed paper notes as a back channel when he was in school.
- by Wayne Kao on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 1:06pm
Discovering and making connections to friends, applications and other voices is an important part of your experience on Facebook. That's why today we are rolling out an improvement to Search to help you quickly find and connect with the people, Pages, groups, events and applications you care about.
Now as you're typing in a query in the search bar, you will instantaneously see results not only of the people, events, groups and Pages you're connected with but also the connections of your friends and globally relevant results. You'll see a wider... variety of relevant results and be able to discover new connections you might want to make on Facebook right as you're entering your search.
For example, if you start typing in "MGM" to find the Facebook Page for the band MGMT, you may see it as the first result in the drop-down menu because you or one of your friends is a fan of MGMT on Facebook. You can simply hit enter on that result and you will be taken directly to the MGMT Page.
If you are searching for something else, like the MGM Grand Las Vegas hotel or the movie studio MGM, you can select one of those instead from the drop-down menu.
If you don't see what you are looking for in the drop-down menu, you can go to the search results page by selecting "See More Results" from the bottom of the drop-down menu. You'll be taken to the full results, where you can sort by different categories and refine your search further.
We're rolling these changes out gradually over the next few days, so you may not see the new results just yet.
Wayne, a Facebook engineer, is searching for friends who play Pet Society.
- Topics: Search
- by Andrew Noyes on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 12:39pm
Twenty-five years ago on this date, the first company registered a Web address with the now prolific .com extension. In recognition of that milestone, we've asked Internet industry leaders to take a look back at the impact of .com and share perspectives on the future direction of the Internet.
We're also honored to have Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg nominated as one of the the ".com 25"—a recognition of the 25 companies and people whose contributions were fundamental to shaping the Internet as we know it today. Google co-founders... Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are among the 75 nominees. The final ".com 25" will be honored May 26 at a gala in San Francisco.
CEO, VeriSign Inc.
Looking back at the first .com 25 years ago is a little like discovering what was the original document to come out of the first printing press. It's interesting but what came after is the real story. And what came after symbolics.com, the first .com registered, has defined a generation.
Twenty-five years ago when the first .com name was registered, I was a freshman at West Point, with no concept of a connected world. Our idea of communications was our weekly lineup at the pay phone waiting to call our parents. Not long ago, I was back at West Point and I saw cadets carrying their world in their pocket with smart phones. Emailing, texting, and calling. They've never known life without the power of the Internet.
That's what the Internet has done for all of us. It has reshaped our perspective—about how we interact with each other and our relationship with the entire world. The social impact alone is staggering. With over 400 million users, Facebook would be the third-largest country in the world. Every day over 200 eHarmony members get married. And Apple just celebrated it 10 billionth iTunes download.
At VeriSign, all that Internet activity translates into 18 trillion website and email lookups a year that we handle. So, just as Johannes Gutenberg must have looked at the printing press and asked, "what's next?" we all wait to see where the Internet will take us. And, as the operator of .com we know that we won't dream up its uses, we just need to stand ready to support it.
Senior Advisor for Innovation, Office of the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
To me, the rise of .com has meant the near end of isolation. Growing up in West Virginia, I saw firsthand how life opportunities are limited by the information people are able to access. Grow up in an information-rich environment, and you are well-positioned to compete and succeed in knowledge-based sectors of the global economy. Grow up with a deficit of information, and you are positioned for the service industry, folding bed sheets and busing tables.
Dot-com has brought people and marketplaces more closely together. It has both created and strengthened communities by allowing them to take root in virtual spaces. In the coming years, I see the tectonic shift made possible by .com increasingly being about education. The innovations that have taken place connecting people to marketplaces and to each other will now connect people to educational resources in a way never previously imaginable. And because of it, kids will have an unbounded opportunity to learn.
I remember the first email address I ever saw, and I distinctly remember thinking that it was ridiculous. What was that loony "@" sign doing there? Why was everything in lower case? The exuberance and the essential humanity of the Internet took everyone by surprise, and all of those fireworks started with .com. We've adapted since then, and we're used to lower-case billions. But the story that changed the way the world learns, trades and communicates began with .com addresses and their decentralized, flexible nature.
What's coming next? Things are changing quickly, and .com is receding in importance as other namespaces and places become central. Internationalized domain names, in other scripts, are long overdue. There's a fight for gate-keeping control, and many of the players in that fight would prefer not to be relying on domain names. Nothing goes away, though, and we'll be seeing .com in lights for generations to come.
Former Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State
During the past 25 years, .com—also known to its friends as "Dot Com"—has done more to change the world than any person or event. It has opened the world to potentially unlimited access to information and has encouraged people and governments to recognize—as they did at the UN's "heads of state" World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)—that "freedom of expression and the free flow of information, ideas and knowledge are essential" and that we are universally committed "to the freedom to seek, receive, impart and use information ... for the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge."
From virtually every corner of the world, people are able to use .com to connect with friends and family, learn about economic opportunities, interact with governments (including the opportunity to tell "truth to power"—sometimes at great personal risk), save lives, help others and to make the world a better place for future generations. It doesn't get better or more powerful than that. Thank you .com and happy anniversary/birthday!
Andrew, manager of policy communications at Facebook, is looking forward to tomorrow's policy forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the impact of 25 years of .com on our lives and our world.
- Topics: Government
- by Don Faul on Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 10:43pm
As more and more people share and connect on Facebook, we are growing our operations and teams to support them around the world. Just last week, we announced plans to invest in a new Austin, Texas, office, and today in India we unveiled our intentions to open an office in Hyderabad.
Both of these offices will allow us to better serve the more than 400 million of you now using Facebook worldwide, as well as our growing number of advertisers and developers. We are now hiring people to join the online sales and operations teams that we're forming... in these new locations.
By having multiple support centers in a variety of time zones, we can provide better round-the-clock, multi-lingual support.
The new offices come at a significant time in our international growth. Seventy percent of the people using Facebook are outside the U.S. and are accessing the service from more than 70 languages. In India alone, we've seen rapid growth and now have more than 8 million people there actively connecting on Facebook with their friends, family, and other people they know, both within India and around the globe.
The new operations centers in Austin and Hyderabad will supplement our support teams in our Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters and office in Dublin, Ireland. We're proud to now call America's Lone Star State and India's City of Pearls home.
For job opportunities in either location, visit www.facebook.com/careers.
Don Faul, a director of global online operations at Facebook, is looking forward to brushing up on his cricket skills during his next trip to India.
- by Charlotte Carnevale Willner on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 12:15pmWe're introducing a new series today called "Faces of Facebook," which features excerpts from interviews with our employees that originally appeared on our internal blog. Their words offer a glimpse of life inside of Facebook and the work they do around the world.
Adam Conner was the first member of our Washington, D.C., office when he joined Facebook in November 2007. He works on the public policy team as one of Facebook's official D.C. lobbyists. He is originally from Los Alamos, N.M., and is a little broken up over Conan O'Brien right now.
You send a lot of social emails and show up at all our company parties. (Social is an internal email list where employees discuss social topics such as finding concert tickets, a new apartment or teammates for a pickup game of basketball). What do you do in your spare time?
Sigh, the party thing used to be the case but not any longer, I've missed the last two holiday parties. But I did manage to be around for Game Day last year, which was awesome (Game Day is an annual Facebook tradition where employees spend a day competing in teams in a series of outdoor games).
I'm a pretty social person and have always worked around a lot of people; but when I first started working for Facebook I worked by myself from my apartment. If I had worked for any other company I think I probably would've gone insane. But being constantly on Facebook (the product) with all of Facebook (the company) let me feel like a part of the company in a real way. Social (email) was kind of the same way and I've never seen anything like social anywhere else I've worked.
Describe a moment where you felt that your work was making a difference in the world.
The week of January 11-17 was pretty cool, helping to pull together the Global Disaster Relief Page in just few hours. I went on vacation that weekend and was on the phone in Mexico convincing President Clinton to plug our Facebook page as part of the relief efforts.
Election Day in 2008 was pretty cool, too. We'd registered 60,000 voters in just 10 days with ads on the site, got 5.5 million U.S. users to click the "I Voted" button on Election Day, and had something like a million users look up their polling location on the Google Map. That was when I realized the high point of my professional career in politics was going to be getting 5.5 million people to click a button.
When you applied to work here, what crazy rumor about Facebook culture did you initially dismiss, only to discover that it's completely true?
I knew almost nothing about Facebook when I joined. I was like a lot of people who don't seem to conceive of the idea that people work at Facebook and not magical computer fairies.
Why do you work for Facebook, over any other options open to you right now?
I really love my job. I get to sit in meetings with vaguely important and occasionally actually important people and explain why Facebook is like the wheel or fire and how not using it really isn't an option anymore. Government and politics both operate with pretty limited resources, but technologies like Facebook really are an answer for helping them overcome those constraints.
I came to DC to be a character in the (American TV show) West Wing (like Sam or Josh) and there are times when it was hard to look at all my friends working on the Obama campaign or in the White House and not feel like I'm missing out. But Congress, the White House, the government—those have all been around for a while and will be around for a while longer.
Facebook is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's like my favorite Facebook philosopher, (engineer) Soleio, once said (in this video): "This is Everest. Like there's nothing else, you get this thing done, you do this thing well, and then you can go home. You can say 'Hey I changed the world.' "
Charlotte works on Facebook's international user operations team.
- by Sara Lannin on Friday, March 5, 2010 at 10:01amThe following is part of our "Your Stories" series on different ways Facebook is used across the world. If you have a story you'd like to share with us, please submit it here.
David Slade's fiancée Kelly was the first to find the lost little dog. Standing in the driveway on her way to shop for wedding dresses in January, Kelly was surprised when the disoriented animal cheerfully ran up to her. Kelly brought the pup, which she nicknamed "Mouse," inside from the incoming rainstorm to play with her and David's own dogs. She left David to begin... searching for the owner of the lost pet alone.
Neither Kelly nor David could have guessed that Facebook would play an integral role in the effort to reunite Mouse with his family.
The dog was wearing a collar, but no tags, leaving David unsure where to begin his search for the owner. Initially, he pursued traditional methods by calling the neighborhood vet and the Humane Society, leaving a phone number and a description of Mouse in case anyone had called to inquire. Once the storm clouds parted, he even went door-to-door in the area surrounding his home, but was frustrated when he realized that many neighbors owned similar small white dogs and all of them seemed to be accounted for.
The following day, David knew it was time to take a different approach. Fortunately, his neighborhood of Hillcrest, a small, older area within Little Rock, Ark., has an active Facebook Page with nearly 2,500 fans. David posted a photo of Mouse, along with the following short message to the Page's Wall.
Amazingly, within only a few hours, a woman named Lin Chan commented: "That's our TYSON! Thank you!"
Lin had been alerted to David's post by a phone call from a friend who had seen the post. "I quickly logged onto Facebook and was relieved and in disbelief when I saw Tyson's photo posted by David," Chan said. "My son, who is 4, actually cried when he saw the photo because he 'wanted Tyson home now'."
David and Kelly quickly contacted Lin after they saw her comment, and their Mouse, who was actually Tyson, was returned to the arms of Lin and her two sons in no time. During the search, David remembered a cell phone commercial he'd seen, where a picture of a lost dog is sent around town by text message and leads to the dog being returned to his owner.
"I remember thinking 'if only it were that easy,'" David said. "Turns out it is."
Sara, an intern on Facebook's communications team, wishes she and her roommate could adopt a lost puppy.
- by Matt Hicks on Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at 5:01pmAt Facebook, we're constantly connecting with interesting people — from experts and researchers to celebrities or visitors to our office. Occasionally, we'll share these conversations on the Facebook blog in our "Connecting with..." series. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jonah Seiger, a pioneering Internet campaign strategist and the founder of Connections Media, where he develops online campaigns for U.S. issue groups, political candidates and companies. Most recently, he worked on the 2009 reelection campaign for New York Mayor... Mike Bloomberg.
Given that you have been working in Internet policy and online advocacy since 1993, what do you think, looking back, has been the biggest change that the Internet has brought to politics?
Transparency, and I think we still have a long way to go. But the ability of citizens, voters, to have access to source information, to engage with each other outside of the filter of the media, establishment and traditional media, has changed the whole dialog, and I think brought mostly good things to the politics of America.
Can you think a seminal moment where this was made clear to you?The Starr Report (in 1998). I think it was like within the first 24 hours, it was downloaded 25 million times...People now have access directly to the same information that the reporter gets, and they can parse it themselves...
There were things that followed very quickly after that. John McCain's victory in the New Hampshire primary in 2000. I guess you would have to rewind and say Jesse Ventura's election as governor of Minnesota (in 1998). John McCain's fund raising success in the aftermath of his victory in the New Hampshire primary. Howard Dean's success in 2004. And then it just kind of cascades. People give Obama credit for inventing all this, (but) it actually starts a lot earlier than that.
The one change we have seen in recent years is the rise of various types of social media. How has that in your mind changed what the Internet can do in politics?
It gives more power to the true grassroots. It makes it in many ways a lot easier to organize, but more challenging for the top-down type of organizing. And it changes the calculus of a campaign's communications operation, because it's much more difficult to have tight control over every aspect of the message. And the tighter the control attempts to be, the less successful you will be in social media. You have got to give people the ability to add their own flavor and their own voice to your message, and that could be really scary.
The Internet is all about decentralization; it always has been. Social media extends that to another level. The ease of sharing (which) Facebook and Twitter and other platforms provide accelerates that. And I think it's great for politics, but it also makes it challenging for people who practice (politics), especially people who come from a more traditional approach to political communications.
Who do you think is further ahead: The everyday voter who is using social media or the campaigns themselves? Where is the balance right now?
What we continue to see—and this is not a hard-and-fast rule—is the challenger has an advantage because they have more degrees of freedom. The incumbent has more to protect, and so it's a little bit more difficult to embrace fully the openness and decentralization that the Internet and social media, in particular, provides.
So those opportunities are more available to the insurgent challenger candidate, that Jesse Ventura example, the John McCain in 2000 example, Obama.
It's why the success of Mayor Bloomberg in New York City is an interesting example, because he was the incumbent. He was one of the only incumbents to win since the 2008 cycle. (Gov.) Corzine had lost in New Jersey (and) the party in power lost in Virginia in that same election. So there are examples to the contrary, but I think it gives, generally speaking, more opportunity to the challenger...
Looking more recently, like in the past year, has there been any specific examples of either where social media played a really big role in the election or in the public discourse about an issue that surprised you in some way?
I don't know about surprised me, but I think the example that's most salient right now is the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts (as a Republican U.S. senator). There was a combination of Martha Coakley's campaign running a very traditional establishment (approach) against a very energetic challenger, who successfully nationalized the race using social media. And that (nationalization) channeled money, it channeled support, people talking about the campaign, generated press coverage, and just helped to propel them forward.
Now at the end of day, the election happened in Massachusetts, people voted only in Massachusetts. So nationalizing a race only gives you so much, but I think that story is an important example of some of what's happening with politics and social media.
What if you are not a Barack Obama or you are not a Mayor Bloomberg or you are not looking to even nationalize a campaign, but you are a local candidate or you are a political advocacy group. Are there certain things you can learn from what some of these big campaigns have done?
I think what social media provides is a new way of doing old things. Organizing has always been about talking to as many people as you can, to find those people who support you and get them engaged. Social media is one more avenue for that. It provides new ways of quantifying the return on every dollar or hour or new person that you are going after.
So I think that the same old tried-and-true tactics of organizing still absolutely apply, but the platforms that social media provide give you more efficiency, more reach, and may create opportunities for news coverage and an interest in your campaign that otherwise wouldn't be available.
So you have seen all these changes in the last decade-and-a-half of Internet advocacy, what do you think is the biggest change to come that we are yet to see?
I hate that question, because...technology alone is not the story. Technology enables things, but successful campaigns are about connecting with people, and persuading (people) that you have the better solution to a problem that's commonly understood... What I have seen is that the Internet has enabled more people to participate than might otherwise have. (It) provides a way of channeling latent public interest and attention in ways that can be measured and directed, and no matter what the next technology is that will still happen.
I do worry (that) as much as social media is powering greater participation in politics, it also has the effect of fragmenting and distilling (issues) to a slogan, almost. And I think it is becoming more difficult for us to have national conversations about complicated issues... I see it in the discussions about climate change, for example, and healthcare reform and creating jobs in this economy. We have lots of new opportunities to kind of shout at each other, and it's a little harder to build consensus around complicated matters...
Four years ago we were talking about podcasts. I don't know, is anybody still doing them? Blogs have found their natural place in the panoply of media. They are definitely having a major impact in challenging the establishment of media, but they have their role and we understand it now. Social media will settle into its own place.
So what's the next platform? Somewhere in (Silicon) Valley here someone is figuring that out. I don't know the technology, but the communications dimension, I think, is going to continue to be driven by people sharing information, and that's very cool and very positive.
Matt, a manager on Facebook's communications team, is connecting with his local candidates for San Francisco supervisor.
- Topics: Connecting with...
- by Nathaniel Roman on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 4:43pm
When it comes to viewing photos, we think bigger is better. We've begun increasing the maximum size for photos on Facebook by almost 20 percent to 720 pixels to give you higher quality photos and make viewing them more enjoyable.
You'll start to notice the larger size as you upload new photos to Facebook or browse new photo albums from your friends. Older photos will remain in the previous maximum size of 604 pixels.
All uploads on Facebook.com will support the new photo size, but uploads made from some external applications may continue to use the previous size. The larger photo size is launching gradually over the next few days, so you may not notice a difference right away.
Nathaniel, a Facebook engineer, is living 116 pixels larger.
- Topics: Photos
- by Austin Haugen on Monday, March 1, 2010 at 11:54am
Every month more than 70 percent of you interact with applications on Facebook, and we want to ensure that you have the best possible experience with them. We recently added a number of features to make it easier for you to use applications, such as the Applications and Games dashboards which are linked to on the home page, and the ability to share your email address with applications.
All of these updates are aimed at giving you more control over how applications can communicate with you. That is why beginning today, you will begin seeing... updates from applications in the latest channels we've added, instead of through notifications.
Staying connected to applications on Facebook is important to many of you, so we wanted to share the best ways you can continue to get updates from applications:
- Check the Applications and Games dashboards for the latest news: The dashboards help you manage your application activity and discover new applications that your friends are using.
- Bookmark applications: The applications you've bookmarked can alert you via counters on the home page when there is a new action for you to take.
- Grant applications permission to email you: You can share you email address with applications to receive updates, such as newsletters, in your email inbox.
- Become a fan of application Facebook Pages: Once you're a fan of an application, you can hear directly from it through stories it posts to your News Feed, and Updates sent to your Facebook Inbox.
We will continue working to enhance your experience with applications and provide a streamlined environment for you to connect with your friends. Please keep letting us know how we're doing.
Austin, a Facebook product manager, just clicked a counter that reminded him to take his turn in his Scrabble game.
Most Popular Stories
- Help Center
- Facebook Security
- Facebook Developers Blog
- Facebook Engineering
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Marketing Solutions
Looking for a specific post? Visit our full archive of blog posts sorted by categories and dates.