Ten years ago, only students at Harvard University could use "The Facebook."
Today, Facebook has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users and, according to Alexa, is the second most popular website in the world after Google.
So how did the social platform achieve such incredible success?
Founder Mark Zuckerberg offered this insight (on Facebook, of course): "We just cared more about connecting the world than anyone else. And we still do today."
But "The Facebook Effect" author David Kirkpatrick goes one step further, crediting Zuckerberg himself for the company's stellar performance.
Kirkpatrick, then a journalist with Fortune magazine, first met Zuckerberg in September 2006 at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.
"He walked in and I said to myself, 'I'm wasting my time. He's so young. He's a baby,'" Kirkpatrick recalls. "But then he opened his mouth and I started listening to what he said and it was so extraordinarily big picture, long-term, visionary, and confident.
"I realized I seldom heard anyone with such a big picture, positive, and long-term view of what he engaged in. And it made me confident he would have extraordinary success."
Should Facebook or Twitter do more to clean up their platforms from bullying or direct threats?
Yes... and no, says News Stream contributor Nicholas Thompson.
In the case of Twitter, he says its in-tweet report abuse button might be the best way for the network to deal with online abuse.
"It allows Twitter to self-police without Twitter taking the extreme step of saying, 'we're going to ban this kind of speech'... which always gets you into some kind of trouble," Thompson says.
"Twitter's general policy needs to be to let more speech happen. It shouldn't get in the business of restricting speech except in extreme and particular circumstances."
Click the video above for more of our conversation about encouraging expression while discouraging the trolls.
Tech blogger Paul Miller of the Verge is back online after being off the Internet for an entire year.
That's right. No surfing (not even shoulder surfing). And not a single text message was sent.
His verdict? It was "bad" for his social life, but good for building up his patience and ability to focus "in the present."
And if you're thinking about your own Internet detox, Miller has this warning. "I started wasting a lot of time later into the year," he says. "Decide what you want to do and disconnect in order to do that. Don't just disconnect for the sake of disconnection."
Technology isn't just part of News Stream, it's also something we love to cover.
So when we were asked to put together a special edition of the show with the top tech stories of the year, it was both very easy to pick the stories we thought were important... and very hard to leave out stories we loved but just couldn't fit.
You can watch the whole show here, divided into six parts.
PART 1: Breaking down the smartphone Patent Wars with The Verge's Nilay Patel; Microsoft launches Windows 8
Social media has become an important tool for candidates seeking political office. Just look at Barack Obama taking questions on Reddit. But how much will it impact the outcome of the U.S. presidential race?
This week we asked our regular contributor, Nicholas Thompson, that question. He compared social media to a "great microphone" that both campaigns are using. But he points out that most users of social media are young people, who traditionally do not vote.
Thompson also says, "Social media does not make an election. If it did, we'd be celebrating the coronation of Ron Paul right now because his followers are awesome on the Internet."
What do you think? Could a candidate win your vote through social media?
Kickstarter calls itself "the world's largest funding platform for creative projects." And last month, it rolled out a new page to share its data.
The site says its numbers are updated at least once a day. Right now:
Seven completed projects have raised more than $1 million. Another recently passed that milestone... and did it in record time. Ouya, a video game project, hit seven figures in just 8 hours and 22 minutes.
Another tech project is hoping to have similar success. The online comic, Penny Arcade, is seeking $1 million to go ad-free.
Don't forget, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing deal. So Penny Arcade won't get a penny unless it reaches its goal.
The site's co-founder, Yancey Strickler, spoke to us back in March.
Hong Kong (CNN) – This just in: Male Beliebers Exist.
I know this thanks to a monitor installed in the newsroom that flashes the very latest trending topics on Twitter.
What's trending, as I write this sentence? A few hashtag games like "#OverusedWords," a tribute to former teen queen Hilary Duff, "Hilary is our Cinderella," and "Male Beliebers Exist," a reference to obsessive fans of Justin Bieber. FULL POST
Paul Miller will never see this.
OK, never is overstating it. Paul Miller will not see this until May 2013. That's because he has voluntarily cut himself off from the Internet. For a full year.
If you are like me, you'd just as soon cut off your left hand. Forget all the fun stuff... I truly could not do my job without it.
But, like me, Paul Miller is a professional writer. And he's a senior editor at The Verge, a tech-focused website.
So why the Internet detox? And how is he coping without the Web? Kristie Lu Stout finds out.
Now that Facebook is friends with Wall Street, this journalist is giving her timeline a rethink.
I rejoiced when it launched Facebook Pages, as this was a chance to build a professional presence on the network separate from my personal feed.
I was also riveted by the work of Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Internet activist and Google executive who devised the "We are all Khalid Said" Facebook page after a businessman who died in police custody last year. The page helped spark the revolution that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
And I was thrilled when Facebook hired a dedicated journalist-program manager to build ways for reporters to be more socially savvy.
But now Facebook will answer to its shareholders as a publicly traded company. To keep Wall Street happy, it will have to make more money - quarter after quarter.
Journalists have to face up to the fact that we - along with some 800 million Facebook users worldwide - are the product being sold.
Facebook may be the biggest social network, but it wasn't the first.
You might remember MySpace and Friendster. You may have had accounts on those sites. But when was the last time you visited them? Does anyone use those social networks anymore?
Turns out plenty of people do... if you know where to look.
Catch News Stream with Kristie Lu Stout weekdays at 8pm HKT/ 12pm GMT / 8am ET on CNN International.