This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

We’ve Evolved Facebook: Some Basics Remain

Sat in on a webinar yesterday; the speaker was teaching small, private business-owners of the restaurant variety how to create their own Facebook profiles and fan pages.

I had to reflect…

It was Somewhere around August 31, 2005 when I first signed up for Facebook. Hurricane Katrina had just hit. Grad school friends and I had retreated to one cohort’s apartment in another, more northern town because it had electricity and Internet.

Of course, everyone was lounging with their own laptops, scoping each other out on Facebook instead of engaging in genuine conversation, but I’ll save my opining on that behavior for another post.

So – I signed up for Facebook. For the next two years, I spent a lot of time conversing with peers, scoping out other people’s pictures, posting my own in a very vein manner, wasting time I should’ve been spending on the thesis, etc.

Grad school ended. Fast-forward five years, and businesses are spending a lot of money and scrambling to “network on Facebook.” Posers are claiming to be “social media experts” and are making a decent amount of money telling said businesses how they can help them “network on Facebook.” Business people are spending an hour on a Wednesday morning, listening to the technical basics of setting up their own Facebook pages and profiles.

I illustrate this development out because I find it fascinating that, what was once a new online venue for college kids to waste time and entertain themselves, has rapidly developed into a forum that people are spending a lot of time, effort, and money on, all in the effort to do things like “connect,” get their brand out there, “facilitate online communities,” etc.

At the end of the day, I feel like few businesses get “being on Facebook” right (if there is such a thing). I feel like this because, as a long term Facebook Kid, I pay attention to very few businesses or services that are on Facebook. They have my attention because….wait for it….

They know how to communicate with me.

Not mind-blowing.

In fact, quite simple.

Yet, so few seem to have figured out how to do it (yes, those few do include DC-advised Facebook participants).

So while Facebook has evolved, the invaluable commodity of genuine communication remains in order to facilitate any relationship – offline or on Facebook.