Databases .. what would we do without them?

October 24, 2008

In my daily life I use many, many databases. Not only do I use databases, I create them for other users to manipulate and fill with data. Among my many duties in my current job, one of my primary functions is in- house programmer and “IT Guy”. Over the past year I have developed and deployed a business management system (that I still work on daily) focused at helping us run our business in a much more efficient manner. Unfortunately I can’t show that to you because it is proprietary. However, there is another database that I use, and probably many of you use as well, and that is Facebook.

Facebook is a social networking website similar to MySpace and Linked In. At the site you can interact with friends, find old friends to reconnect with, and play games. It’s quite addicting! Behind the scenes there are several databases that store billions of billions of bytes of data. Most of this data is general information about yourself, where you are from, what are doing now, who are your friends, and communications between you and those friends.

The overall design of the database seems very good. It has a quick response time though some of this response time is dependent on the internet itself. Considering this database probably contains many, many tables it responds well. For example if I want to see all of my friends I can pull that up in a page. It can then tell me what friends I have in common with them and will let me drill down further into those people’s profiles to learn more about them. The site also keeps statistics on my game scores and compares them to my friends so we can compete to see who has the biggest brain or the fastest fingers. In some cases, it’s who plays more often.

I believe this site is designed very well. I base that on my own opinion as it reacts well; however this site is extremely popular and it would not be so if it were difficult or cumbersome to use. In comparison to it’s competition I feel it stands out, especially for my age group.



  1. I use facebok almost daily, thank god I’m not addicted like many of my friends. I think it’s great for keeping in contact with old friends that I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time. Life takes us all on curious and sometimes confusing paths and I think it’s awesome that there is a database setup that let’s us keep in touch with people that shared something in a point in my life. The best part of it is, it’s very user friendly. You don’t have to be a IT tech in order to navigate it, everything is there with just within a click of a mouse.

  2. I also use Facebook on a regular basis. As I live around eight-hundred miles away from where I grew up, Facebook (which I have only joined over the last year) has become pretty much the only way I am able to keep up with people I knew when I was younger.

    I have found the site is fairly user friendly, although it was somewhat of an adjustment going from their earlier interface to their recent change. However, it’s easy to see why they changed the look of the website– with the set-up the way it is now, the ads displayed on the side of each page refresh far more often.

  3. I use Myspace and Facebook daily for personal things. It’s really awesome to be able to keep in touch with old friends and family. They have really improved how you can query their databases to locate specific people or a group of people.

    Another interesting use of the Myspace and Facebook database is for recruiting or promoting.You can list jobs for people to view, but you can also do a search to using queries to cue in on certain age groups, interest groups and geographic groups. There have been many studies, including one I conducted last semester, that show that recruiters have great success using these social networking, database based, sites for recruiting and promoting their organizations.

    It’s nice to read what an “IT guy” has to say about this. This week was a bad week for our “IT guy” at work!

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