Essential No. 11: Facebook

The social networking site came to the Silicon Valley to make it big ― and bring us all closer together
Peter Fish

A few Facebook members have hit their friend limit ― 5,000. You? If you’re average, you have 120, from high school buds to your boss, but you’re working on more. So is Facebook, the social networking site that reached 200 million users this spring.

Born in a Harvard dorm room, Facebook didn't really blossom until founder Mark Zuckerberg moved it to the Silicon Valley. "I credit some of our success to Palo Alto," says Facebook director of communications Brandee Barker. "This is where people who know the tech business like nobody else live."

Sure, the Facebook world can seem self-absorbed, with everybody 
sharing their "25 Random Things About Me." But the site has been used to potent effect by political campaigns (Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy) and by charitable groups gathered on its Facebook for Good page.

And despite its undergrad origins, Facebook’s greatest growth is in the over-35 age group, whose kids now worry their parents will do something terminally dorky online. Their response: Yes, we will. Deal with it.

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