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It was early December of 2004 – a typically-wintry northeast American afternoon at the University of New Hampshire.

As I often did, I was busy procrastinating over starting a lengthy essay when AOL’s “voice of God” proclaimed: “You’ve got mail!”

As part of a wider trial roll-out to campuses around New England, one of the other guys in my dorm had invited me to join something called Thefacebook.

There was a quiet-but-noticeable buzz about it. Given how young we were at the time, the fact that it had been created by people our own age seemed almost unbelievable and lent it an air of exclusivity.

Little did I know ten years on, it would still be a part of my daily life, and that 1.2 billion others would have hopped on the same bandwagon.

Max Preston

Max Preston was invited to join Facebook in 2004

As I recall, Thefacebook (as it was then) took off quite quickly, but among a fairly limited circle of people.

Given that my schoolmates had dispersed themselves over quite a wide area, it became a useful way to keep in touch after we had moved on, especially as it expanded beyond the six states of New England.

There was no video or live chat feature for quite a long time – that was still the domain of AIM and MSN – but uploading photos from digital cameras and even new-fangled phones was becoming easier and proved to be something of a novelty.

It became a genuinely useful tool for maintaining relationships, and yes, even doing a bit of benign stalking.

A few months later, the untimely death of my mother meant I had to swiftly relocate back to the UK.

Having been in the States for for eight years, it took me some time to assemble a new circle of friends, but even as late as 2007, my British contemporaries would still scratch their heads when I mentioned Facebook, and ask me if I was talking about Bebo or MySpace.

Facebook’s early appeal was that it was something that was created for our generation by our generation – it harnessed the curiosity, humanity, frivolity and even occasional base instincts of who we are.

I’m 27, and my generation is often criticised for not caring enough about the world around us and being entirely too self-absorbed. It is, of course, completely fair to say that Facebook has done a lot to encourage this strain of narcissism – but there is a counter-argument.

Yes, our older relatives turned up later and pestered us to install mind-numbingly boring game apps or read editorials with which we firmly disagreed.

For every one of those, though, there are posts that encourage us to share in the genuine triumphs and tragedies of those we care about, and those we probably wouldn

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