I often think that people who attended college during or in close proximity to the turn of the millennium like e-mail more than a lot of other generations. We figured out in college without a predominant cell phone presence, Facebook, or text messaging how to communicate with one of the original social networks, e-mail.
Yet, even though many of us were trying to stay in touch via e-mail and the growing ability to call one another via cell phones, there were just certain people who you didn't keep in touch with via e-mail or making a call.
You still cared about where they were going, what they were going. Even if you didn't attend the wedding (or get invited) you were interested in seeing a photo (including who else was at the wedding). And when people moved, or came back in town you wanted to know at least where they were.
Facebook updates in the early stage seemed generally light for most people. People didn't daily post an update of what they were doing, but they were quick to update relationship statuses, where they lived, or where they were attending graduate school.
Yet, looking back at my own photo album, something crazy happened. I had a baby. A couple of moves that were partially documented on Facebook. A very visits with friends and vacations, but nothing was so transforming to my Facebook experience as having a baby.
For starters, we had to consider how we would break the news on Facebook. After breaking the news my wife would post updated pictures of her baby bump but the real action happened when our daughter was born.
It was 2008 and now we had moved a few times since college, many of our Facebook friends lived all over the country and we were at home and what better thing to do than post pictures of our baby, people visiting our baby, our baby laying there, playing with toys, being held, and so forth.
We were stuck at home in a way we hadn't been previously, and we were using our digital camera and uploading pictures more than ever.
At this time, I had a phone that could take pictures, but certainly not one that could upload them directly to Facebook. Plus, I think my phone could only take around 30-60 photos, and the quality was decent, but not something you would probably post.
For us, anything that went on Facebook up to this point came from a digital camera, which is why Facebook pictures typically had been big events previously (weddings, vacations, etc) that we took with a digital camera. Most everything we took pictures of we put on Kodak Gallery (a company/site which doesn't even exist anymore), but there was something fun and rewarding about posting them on Facebook and getting a comment or two. Remember, in 2008 there was no "liking" yet, so if we got a response, it was a comment. (More on "liking" in a later post).
And so really for the first years of Facebook until 2008 Facebook was focused on big events, staying connected with the who, what, where of friends (mostly college, but by now some high school friends as well).
Yet Facebook was evolving. More people had joined Facebook by this time, at a personal level, my mom had joined and was one of the people commenting on the pictures of my newborn.
Also as a random memory of Facebook...Facebook was trying out some new things, it was around this time that Facebook let you give "gifts" on Facebook - which was little pictures you could give to people. You got a free gift to give, but after that they cost a dollar. These gifts were a way some people spiced up birthday greetings. These gifts were also a way to put something funny on someone's wall, like toilet paper or a thong. Gifts could be anonymous, and each picture had a limited number that could be given.
But for me, I logged into Facebook infrequently. My wife was probably far more apt to read Facebook, post on Facebook, and keep up with what was going on in people's lives via Facebook. While I was tagged in pictures holding my baby.
Photo Credit: Photo above is from TheFamilyofBoyds.blogspot.com, I don't know these people but flipping through my own Facebook pictures found at least one that was very similar. Not wanting to post unsolicited pictures of my friends I opted for one that was already online.