Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Facebook birthday gimmick: Your online life in 62 seconds

Facebook marks 10th birthday with video of each member's most popular posts and photos

Facebook's 'A Look Back' promotion has already proven popular with thousands of New Zealanders. Picture / Sarah Ivey
Facebook's 'A Look Back' promotion has already proven popular with thousands of New Zealanders. Picture / Sarah Ivey

Kiwis have been hooked by Facebook's latest gimmick, which puts together a short movie of their online life.

To mark its 10th birthday, the social network started a new automated tool called A Look Back.

It accesses users' personal profile pages, creating a 62-second video clip of the most-liked posts and a selection of photos. The clip is set to music and can be posted for all to see.

Thousands of New Zealand Facebook users have already taken advantage of the tool to create their own movie, and most have been impressed with the result.

"I wasn't going to do one when they started flooding my news feed, and I thought it was going to be a bit lame, to be honest," said Philippa Mannagh.

"But I gave in and surprisingly they are really cool. I think they should be a bit longer, though, with a few more of the big moments.

I love mine - very cool."

Yvette Baldwin was also a fan. "I think it's great. I did it last night and had a good old reminisce. It's nice they did something to commemorate - after all, it's changed the way we live our lives."

Another user said it was a "cool idea".

"It's cool to see a quick flashback of what's happened in your life since joining Facebook," he said.

Some users weren't so keen. "It reminds me of a funeral slideshow. I dislike it," said Abbie Muir.

New Zealand social media expert Vaughn Davis said the videos were not exceptionally innovative, but were impressively delivered to more than a billion users at the same time.

"The exciting and interesting thing is the sheer scale of it - they have done it in one hit and pretty much flawlessly.

"No one needs to write an autobiography any more because Facebook or Twitter will write it for us."

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and four classmates at Harvard University on February 4, 2004. In a decade, it has attracted more than 1.23 billion users.

Mr Zuckerberg posted a message to his followers commemorating the anniversary: "It's been an amazing journey so far, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. It's rare to be able to touch so many people's lives."

He said people often asked him if he always knew Facebook would become what it is today. "No way," is his response.

"I remember getting pizza with my friends one night in college shortly after opening Facebook. I told them I was excited to help connect our school community, but one day someone needed to connect the whole world."

- NZ Herald

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