Facebook is an incredibly effective social networking site. Its opening statement says it all: "Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life." Many agree with this statement, for Facebook has over 350 million active users. Of those active users, the average person spends at least 55 minutes every day on Facebook. Those 55 minutes of usage usually include time spent in updating one's status, connecting with friends, and taking part in one or more of the applications available. Facebook applications are special, interactive features that Facebook members can use and share. The Facebook Platform is a framework that was created in May of 2007 that allows members to launch new applications that have the same look and "feel" as Facebook. By the end of 2007, over 7,000 applications existed, and, since then, over 100 new applications are created every day. These applications usually fall into one of the following categories: friends & family, lifestyles, just for fun, games, entertainment, utilities, and business.
One of the most popular friends & family applications is FamilyLink. It serves the very purpose of Facebook; it helps users connect with family and friends. As friends and family are connected, they are able to talk to each other via online posts, and they are able to share videos and pictures. One example of a lifestyles application is Circle of Moms. Moms using this application can connect with one another, ask questions, and share advice, stories, and photos. The just for fun applications include Graffiti, which allows a user to draw pictures on friends' profiles. One really popular games application is Farmville. This game allows you to interact with friends while building and tending your "farm." Entertainment applications usually involve movies, music, or books; some of these are Flixter, iLike music, and Visual Bookshelf. Utilities applications help keep a member organized and connected; one that is very popular is the Birthday Card application which sends virtual cards to friends on their birthdays. The last category of applications is business. Marketplace is a business application that is a classifieds list (similar to a Facebook-only Craigslist) that is visible to other Facebook members. Applications are extremely popular and helpful; they make Facebook an even more exciting place to be!