• Facebook has made relationships between brands and consumers more personal
  • Most people say they use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family
  • Founder Mark Zuckerberg says the main aim of Facebook is about sharing and staying connected

It is fair to say that for many, Facebook has changed the world. From allowing us to find old friends and family members, and letting us share pictures and stories to the world to helping Barack Obama get elected as president of the US, well over half of the world’s population now have a Facebook account.

As it celebrates its 11th birthday, we take a look at the ways in which it has impacted on our lives and examine how influential it has been on all of our lives.

The two-way conversation

For most organisations, when it came to marketing and communications, there was very little actual two-way engagement with customers or clients. Messages would be communicated and that was it.

With the advent of social media, this changed. More of a personal touch was required, for businesses to be more targeted and approachable. As Facebook said in 2011, with two-way communication, "people can acquire information as well as conveying their comments at the same time".

"This can make a big difference in social impacts because it effectively facilitates exchanges and interactions among people and thus contributes to making information flows more globalised and influential in the real world," it added.

Getting closer to brands

Facebook is a daily activity for many of us, made easier by the increasing sophistication of our smartphones. Interestingly, although it started off as a tool to let students keep in touch with one another, it has evolved in such a way that it allows us to become more connected to brands and businesses.

The reasons are interesting. Some studies suggest that liking a brand on Facebook show that people have a genuine fondness for it, whilst others use it to show friends and family members associate themselves with.

The same principle applies to celebrities, who have evolved to be brands in their own right. Stars like Beyonce are now more than just entertainers; they are a way of life. And through Facebook, us mere mortals can feel a step closer to their world when they offer candid snaps and interviews posted exclusively on their fan page.

The Facebook life is the new norm

Ask yourself this question: "Can you do without Facebook?" We've tried it at LV= and the answer is a resounding no. Whether it is checking to see what our friends are doing, reading the hilarious Innocent drinks posts or checking own LV= Facebook page, there very rarely is a time when Facebook isn’t a part of our lives.

But are you addicted to Facebook? And Is that a bad thing if you are? Perhaps not. It is, after all, the new norm. And considering that most of us are on social networks like Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, its central presence in our lives seems to have more positives than negatives.

The Facebook era

So is the Facebook era a good or bad thing? On the plus side, we're better connected, more informed and happier as a result of it. We miss less birthdays, find long lost friends, find out about interesting events, have more engaging conversations with brands we like and even Facebook has even changed the course of history.

Yet, that is not to say it is flawless. There's a lot of oversharing, often of trivial things, personal or otherwise, privacy remains a serious issue, your online friends, past and present, don't play that much of a role in your life and it can make you unhappy.

However, on the whole, we at LV= think that Facebook has had a positive impact. The core of what it is about, as its founder Mark Zuckerberg commented last year on its 10th anniversary, hasn't changed. It still gives "people the power to share and stay connected, empowering people to build their own communities".