Six Years of Facebook

Timelines, Visualization

A snapshot and link to my timeline


Facebook is one of the largest tech companies in the world, originally founded in 2004 as a social media website – currently the largest one to date. Facebook grew rapidly at an exponential rate which cause it to become the tech giant that it is today. It’s a platform that allows users to create a profile, share photos, communicate with friends, and many other features as well. It has even become a staple social media platform that integrates seamlessly with several other platforms or applications.

I use it on a daily basis to stay up to date on current event, stay in touch with friends, and join Facebook groups that I would be interested in. I decided to construct a timeline on Facebook to depict the lifecycle of Facebook over the first six years after it’s launch. In a short few years, it was able to acquire over five hundred million users, which put it in the lead as far as social media platforms went at that time. 


Research/Data Collection:

With Facebook being a relatively large and popular company, there is no shortage of information on its history. I found several articles that were able to outline the important milestones of Facebook from launch to date. However, for the purpose of this timeline I chose to focus on important milestones that I found across all three websites and which I also found interesting. These milestones focused more on the number of users, the rate that it was increasing, and introduction and implementation of new features. 


To create this timeline, I used a software known as TimelineJS, which is an open source timeline creator by Knight Lab used in conjunction with Google Sheets. To begin, I simply clicked “Make a Timeline,” which then brought me further down the landing page. The instructions are clearly defined in four simple steps. The first step was to open Google Sheets with the link provided on the page. This opened up a new page with a template of the Google Sheet that would import all the necessary information into the timeline visualization. On this page, I edited the different time categories, headlines, text, media, media credit, and media captions to include the information for my timeline. After all my information was entered, I had to publish my Google Sheet to a webpage by clicking the “Publish to the Web…” option under file. After, I copy and pasted the URL from the Google Sheets back on the TimelineJS website, which then returned a link to the newly created timeline! 


While working on this lab exercise, I spent a lot of time thinking about different topics that I could’ve worked on. I wanted to work on something I felt was relatable, which is why I choose Facebook. I think that this was an interesting exercise because I joined the social media website in 2009, after a few of their iconic features were already implemented. I remember wanting to post on friend’s walls all the time and wanting to have status updates with a decent amount of likes. It was pretty interesting also realizing that some of the basic features, such as posting photos or videos, was not a feature that was available since launch. It was even more fascinating to learn that about the reason why Facebook was created and see how fast it grew. I think this timeline does an effective job at showing some of the early milestones of Facebook in its first six years. Since Facebook is still very popular today and still growing, if this project were to continue, then it would simply continue to add more milestones the timeline. Somethings that would be interesting to note are when features are removed instead of just introduced and implemented. Perhaps another idea would be to note the growth rate of users of Facebook users over the last six years versus the growth rate in the first six years.