Facebook Turns 10: How a decade of social media has changed the job search
Today Facebook celebrates its 10th anniversary. Can you believe it has been ten years already? By comparison, Workopolis is fourteen years old. On February 4, 2004 Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and three other classmates launched Facebook in a dorm room at Harvard University. As they say, the rest is history. But what a ten year history it has been.
Facebook has become a social fascination like no other. Even Zuckerberg couldn’t have foreseen what an international phenomenon Facebook would become with almost 1.2 billion users worldwide. More than 5 billion minutes are spent each day on Facebook worldwide.*
Social media has changed our lives, our language, and even the way we think. Sharing has become a monumental past time (or oversharing as many would see it), the word ‘friend’ has been redefined, and that relationship that you’re in – it doesn’t really exist unless it’s confirmed on Facebook. There is no need to ask someone how they’re doing. You already know, or can easily check. The verbs to ‘unfriend’ and to ‘unlike’ were invented just for Facebook.
Even those who don’t regularly use social media can’t escape the medium. It’s everywhere in culture. Celebrities, pro-athletes and politicians don’t need to hold press conferences anymore. They can tweet their successes in 140 characters or less. ‘News’ now gets reported through Facebook or Twitter. Social media is not just the tool to communicate a story, it now often becomes the story.
Social media has had a profound impact on the way we find jobs over the past ten years. LinkedIn has become an essential networking tool. Below we touch on some of the biggest social media platforms over the last decade, as it relates to the job search.
LinkedIn – Launched May 2003 – 259 Million Active Users *
LinkedIn is by far the most business-oriented of large social media sites. It has been called ‘the professional equivalent of Facebook’. It has changed the way people look for work, and employers hire. Two new members join LinkedIn every second. It allows you to network and connect with other business professionals based on factors such as industry, geography, skill and many more. It is a crucial component of any job search strategy.
Facebook – Launched Feb 2004 – 1.19 Billion Active Users *
While Facebook has been thought of in the past as being strictly social, it has become so much more. The sheer fact that so many people use Facebook means it is an unprecedented networking tool. Many employers list positions on Facebook, so it is beneficial to follow those companies you are interested in working for. It is also important to ‘like’ companies that you are interested in. By doing so, you will be able to follow company news and recent job postings as they become available. Job seekers can also set up ad campaigns on Facebook to get their name out there.
Twitter – Launched July 2006 – 232 Million Active Users *
While not typically thought of as a job search tool, Twitter has proven to be an effective tool for personal branding. As a micro-blogging site, Twitter allows users to communicate in ‘tweets’ with 140 characters or less. Similar to LinkedIn, you can also ‘follow’ influential people in your field. As a networking tool, Twitter allows you to access people you might not have otherwise. It brings your brand to the forefront and helps you get noticed. Some have said it is like being a networking event all the time. TweetMyJobs.com allows you access to thousands of jobs the minute they’re posted.
Google+ – Launched June 2011 – 540 Million Active Users *
Google+ is intended to combine all of Google’s peripheral products (Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, etc.) into one cohesive network. With Google+ you create a profile, post messages, upload photos and videos, plus much more. Google+ is becoming important for job searching and networking, allowing you connect with someone on Google+ you add them to ‘Circles’, or organized groups of people.
As part of a well-rounded job search strategy, social media cannot be ignored. Rather than using as many social media platforms as possible, it is better to pick one and two of them and use them to your advantage. If you can only choose one, LinkedIn is your best bet.
Looking for work has never been easy, however, networking is still one of your most valuable tools to achieve success. Social media allows you to network like never before. If the last ten years are any indication of what’s in store for the future of social media, we are in for quite a ride. Oh, and by the way – Workopolis just joined Pinterest.
Anyway, happy birthday Facebook!