​"It puts you on a more real level": What people said about Facebook in 2005

As a reminder of how much things can change in a decade, we're looking back at the "CBS Evening News'" first report on Facebook. The story, which aired in 2005, takes us down memory lane for an interesting look at what the site's first users thought of the social network.

Profiled in the piece were a number of early Facebook adopters, including Marisol Romaro, a college sophomore at the time. Former CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes asked Romaro to describe the new site.

"You see someone that you might recognize, you click on them and then you see that they're friends with someone else, and you share all these common interests," said Romaro. "And then you check the time and it's four hours later and you have no idea how you got there."

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A user's profile on thefacebook.com in 2005
CBS News

Facebook's ability to vacuum time hasn't changed. The only difference now is users are more likely to parlay that time across multiple social networks on mobile devices instead of just desktops.

"On college campuses it's called 'the Facebook trance,'" reported Hughes. "To everyone else it's spending too much time in front of your computer glued to a website called thefacebook.com."

At the time of Hughes' reporting, May 2005, the website was still called thefacebook but would change its name just months later. In the movie "The Social Network," Sean Parker is famously portrayed as the one who advised the company to drop the "the."

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Former CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes, 2005
CBS News

While it may seems silly to have to describe to someone what Facebook is, in 2005 it was still a new idea that needed an easy explanation. Hughes chose the yearbook analogy.

"Consider this site the 21st century version of the old paper-bound yearbook," said Hughes. "Now millions of students use thefacebook.com to list not only their pictures and hobbies, but as a virtual community."

The comparison sounds strange today - a testament of how Facebook has evolved from a yearbook-like page to a digital mecca of media, interactivity and commerce. The one constant the company has had is its leader, CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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Mark Zuckerberg, 2005
CBS News

Hughes interviewed Zuckerberg for her 2005 story. The former Harvard psychology major had launched the site a year earlier at just one university.

"Now we're up to 575 or so schools, expanding at about 65 schools a week for the rest of the school year," said Zuckerberg.

Hughes also interviewed a couple - Dan Gildengorin and Lauren Skinner - who said they wouldn't have met at all if it weren't for Facebook.

"You know going in what their favorite movies are and what their favorite books are, what they're interested in and if they're single or not," explained Skinner.

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Dan Gildengorin and Lauren Skinner browse thefacebook.com in 2005
CBS News

The user experience Skinner had then has changed dramatically over the last decade. But perhaps most interesting is the change in perception.

"It puts you on a more real level," said Skinner.

That statement may raise eyebrows today. A 2013 Pew Research survey found that 20 percent of people who used to use Facebook no longer do. Reasons cited include: "Too much drama."... "I was tired of stupid comments."... "I got harassed by someone from my past who looked me up."

That last sentiment - a nod toward privacy concerns - was forewarned in 2005 by Neil Howe, author of "The Millennials Rising."

"You may see 40 or 50 people in a large class, you may know nothing about them, but you go on a website like this and you can find out everything you probably would have never known the entire year," said Howe.

And that's the way it was on Sunday May 15, 2005.