The Facebook Effect, written by David Kirkpartick and published in 2010, tells the story of Facebook from when it was created and it’s development to the present of when the book was published.
It focuses on Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, and his success while also mentioning Facebook’s co-founders, core staff & investors. I find this to be different from The Social Network (which is probably why it says “The Real Story behind The Social Network” on the cover) because the film did not show all the sides of the story in my opinion. It was just law suit after law suit.
The book as a whole was interesting, but there were especially 4 factors that made me put down the book and think about how much had changed in a few years, and those are:
1) How the initial idea started. In the first chapter, they talk of one of Zuckerberg’s first products, Course Match, and it’s really amazing to see how such a small idea can change the world in a couple of years. Not to say that Course Match was the initial idea, but it just shows that Zuckerberg was always thinking on how to become bigger and better.
2) Another factor was the dealing of the patent of Social Networking Services (SNS). 2 developers of SNS, Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus, bought the patent so bigger companies couldn’t buy it and shut them down. This was interesting because that act, or perhaps a lack of an act, could’ve jeopardized Facebook’s existence.
3) Another transition, other than the earlier one, was intriguing to me was how a college project made the change to a serious business with global ambitions. Zuckerberg said in the earlier days, when it was still Thefacebook.com, that making the website fun was more important that making it a business… was that still true?
4) And the last one is how cautious adults/marketing companies were about joining or partaking in advertising with Facebook. They all wanted to dip one toe into the pool and now they’re diving in headfirst.
My favorite chapters, in chronological order, were 9, 11 and 15.
Chapter 9: title 2006, subtitle “I can’t find out what’s going on with my friends!” The subtitle had caught me eye, because I immediately imagined someone grabbing hold of Zuckerberg’s shirt and yelling that to him. This chapter is all about the creation of the wonderful News Feed. Basically, as I saw it, it was a tool to help and justify our irrational stalking, and many others felt this way too. It was meant to help you answer the question, “How are the people doing that I care about” but instead users felt violated. They started protest groups, and within a week, the most “official” one had gained 700,000 followers. They complained it was too “stalker-esque” and while Zukcerberg replied that there was nothing new to view that they couldn’t before, people weren’t satiated. And so, Zuckerberg provided the privacy features. I learned from this chapter that the web is an online thing, and it must be observed at all times, and also that you must have faith in your ideas. Zuckerberg never once thought of shutting the News Feed down.
Chapter 11: The Platform. The idea of making Facebook a platform, such as Microsoft or Apple. was always in Zuck’s head. And eventually, in 2007, the idea became somewhat of a reality. Applications began to appear around this time. Six months after the launch, 250,000 developers were registered, operating 25,000 apps with games being the most successful. With such a heavy start load, a platform had begun. From this chapter I learned that ambition could lead you from a dorm room to a billionaire.
Chapter 15 relates to the social impact of Facebook, which, being in a Social Media class, I saw as interesting pertaining to the subject. Zuckerberg likens it to a “gift economy” We are “gifting” our views, likes and comments, basically our ideas. And Zuck saw this as a way to make the world idealistic. While, it didn’t exactly better the world, it changed it. Facebook has changed the world. One author, named Jared Cohen, called it, “Digital Democracy.” However, I believe Chris Cox, the first president of Facebook, said it best, “We want to give to everyone that same power that mass media has had to beam out a message.” It was a way of leveling the playing field. And finally, I learned from this chapter that Facebook was always meant to be a gift to the people. So, in turn, that made me think that what I want to do in the future should be a gift as well.
This book affected me in the way that Zuckerberg was my age when it all started. He was in college, turning 20, just like me, and I have done absolutely nothing with my life. But it did teach me to trust my instincts and have faith in my ideas and myself, which could seem very cheesy and hollywood movie-like but Zuck did just that, and now he’s a billionaire.