Since a couple of months I’m a Facebook member. In my opinion that website is a phenomenon.
Of course there are tons of other community websites, and Facebook certainly doesn’t offer more than any of those, but almost everyone is on it. Not only the geeks, not only the business people, not only the exhibitionists, … even the shy ones, and also the ones not really into the internet (however those people survive) … and it’s internationally known. They only sustaining group are those with a deep disgust of Web 2.0 (= translated from NZZ: Drug, alternative to religion, or technology of the future?)
Besides all the crap you can do on the website, the couple of main features are probably posting pictures, setting a mood status, chatting, and setting your relationship status.
If you want your friends to quickly get in touch with you, just change your relationship status, and within the hour you get a least one phone call.
Posting pictures is also quite a quick way to communicate: upload a couple of pictures of whatever and within a day you informed quite a bunch of the people you know, while without Facebook only a few selected ones would have known.
The question remains: what exactly is the benefit?
You get in touch with people you lost contact to, and you would like to meet again. But out of a 100 people that’s probably only true for one or two (das reimt sich und das mein ich so!!!)
You stay in touch with people you hardly ever see. Well, if you don’t see them often, do you really want to stay in touch?
You can connect to people you just met, and find out a whole lot of stuff about them. That’s actually my favorite part. Depends on the revealing vibe of the person, but it’s always a blast.
Fact is, it’s addictive, and most of the time better than the celebrity headlines.
It’s your own celebrity mashup.