The book “The Facebook Effect” reveals the ins and outs of creating the social network Facebook: its modest origins, the rapid rise and further leadership among social networks. Author David Kirkpatrick shows how Facebook has not only changed the way we communicate with each other but also our thoughts on politics, the media, not to mention our attitude to privacy.
Conference journalist, writer, and organizer David Kirkpatrick is the developer of the Brainstorm conference for Fortune Magazine.
His works have been published both in Fortune and in such publications as Forbes and Vanity Fair.
This book is available as:
How Facebook Changed Our Communication With Each Other
While Facebook was not the first social network in the world, it comes to your mind today when you think about social networks.
Facebook managed to achieve success, both technologically and from a business point of view, going from an amateur project in a Harvard University dormitory to the status of one of the most popular sites in the whole world.
Facebook has also contributed to radical social change. The influence of Facebook has manifested itself in a huge number of areas of human life, ranging from the use of the media to communicate with each other, and this summary will show you how social networks have become so influential and what it can mean to you.
From this summary you will also learn:
- how Facebook has contributed to police terror in South Africa;
- how US President Obama used Facebook to win the 2008 election;
- and how, using the Like and Share buttons, a new form of journalism is created.
Before the advent of Facebook and Friendster social networks, WELL and AOL existed.
Facebook was not new to the social media market; in fact, this concept has arisen since about 1985.
Early social networks resembled the form of electronic bulletin boards. If you were a registered member, you could chat with other members to discuss common interests. One of the earliest forms of online communities is The Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link or WELL, which still exists.
These early communities quickly turned into popular technology. Users could create personal profiles, private groups, and chat in real-time in “chat rooms,” which was akin to today’s forms of instant messaging. One
of the first services to offer this technology was America Online (AOL) and Geocities.
Another site that helped find and chat with a nice guy from your class – Classmates.com – the search function for the right people is still an integral part of modern social networks.
Strictly speaking, such as virtual communities, however, were not social networks in accordance with the modern sociological definition of this term. In a real social network, a user can create a profile, a list of friends, and use other people’s profiles and lists of friends in order to create new connections.
If you follow this definition, then the first social network was Sixdegrees.com. The purpose of this site was to create relationships between people through personal profiles, which could also be combined according to friends lists and interests. The feature of the site was that you can “find” any person in a few seconds thanks to the built-in search engine.
However, we all know that the most satisfactory part in finding friends on the Internet is the opportunity to see how they actually look. This was not possible until 2002, when Friendster was launched, a social network that allowed users to add photos to their profiles. Thanks to this feature, the site instantly gained popularity.
Then, one after another, dozens of new social networks began to appear, including LindkedIn, Myspace, Spoke, and Tribe.
So by the time Facebook arrived, the market was crowded with competitors. Nevertheless, Facebook from the very first day was a winner, and its success was rapid. What is his secret? Let’s get back to the origins of Facebook, back when it was just a project at a student university dormitory.
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The Idea That Arose in the Hostel of the University Quickly Turned Into One of the Most Popular Sites in the World
Mark Zuckerberg was an enthusiast. He was constantly busy with his programming projects, so his classmates at Harvard did not pay much attention to his next Thefacebook project in early 2004.
Zuckerberg named his project in honor of “facebooks,” which were popular with him at the university — these were booklets that contained student names, course numbers, and photographs. Thefacebook was initially only available to Harvard students, although
Zuckerberg secretly suspected the site could become extremely popular.
He launched Thefacebook on February 4, 2004. Just four days later, 650 students joined the project; after three weeks, their number increased to 6000.
Soon, the popularity of the site spread beyond Harvard, and by the end of May of that year, the site had 100 thousand users from 34 educational institutions.
So did the financier, who offered Zuckerberg $ 10 million for his website in June 2004. Zuckerberg, however, refused to sell. In September 2005, Thefacebook was renamed to Facebook on the advice of Napster founder Sean Parker.
By October 2005, the popularity of Facebook had spread among educational institutions around the world, and a year later the network was open to all comers, and not just students.
Over the next three years, the number of Facebook users skyrocketed to 145 million. By the end of 2008, nearly a third of all Internet users worldwide were on Facebook.
Today, Facebook is in second place after attendance after Google. As of June 2010, about 500 million people have their Facebook profiles, and on average 25 million new users are registered on the site each month.
All This Success Was Achieved Not by an Experienced Professional, but Only by a Young College Student!
Socially savvy co-founders and the boom of the broadband Internet helped Facebook beat competitors
Facebook’s swift success may seem incredible. However, the rapid growth of the site and its popularity owes much to the fact that it was in the right place at the right time.
It is important to note that just at the time Facebook and Myspace were launched, broadband Internet usage increased dramatically. Thanks to faster page loading, social networks have begun to gain popularity on the Internet.
High connection speed was also crucial for uploading and sharing photos, which was an important feature of Facebook in its later stages.
Zuckerberg also managed to seize the right opportunity in time, as Facebook was launched just at the time when many Ivy League universities were looking for the opportunity to create their own closed communities on the Internet.
This trend has also determined the success of Facebook. And besides, since Harvard is one of the leading universities in America, if not the world, then the best minds were concentrated around Zuckerberg, which ultimately built the company. Among the co-founders of Facebook were Chris Hughes, who became the de facto representative of the social network and went so far as to decide to distribute the 2008 online campaign for presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Students did not have to be persuaded to join Facebook. Socialization is a natural process in the student community, so it was quite easy for the creators of the social network to satisfy the needs of their peers, which made the site very popular.
So Facebook, in fact, was a drop of honey falling into a swarm of hungry bees, which gave it a serious advantage over other competing social networks at that time.
Facebook is one step ahead of the competition thanks to the continuous development and improvement of its services
Although Facebook Was Originally a Social Network for College Students, Today Its Popularity Has Captured the Entire Globe.
And yet, how did it evolve?
The first significant milestone in the success of the site was seen in the fall of 2005. Early Facebook members liked that they could post their photos on an online profile, but since they had the ability to upload only one photo, they often changed it, sometimes several times a day.
In response, Facebook launched a photo hosting service, providing the ability to upload multiple photos, adding descriptions or names of other users to them. Using the search, you could find all the photos of a particular friend, regardless of the custom image. People quickly got used to the new service and started downloading countless images.
This feature soon became the most popular Facebook application, and moreover, one of the most popular photo apps on the Internet.
Keeping track of how members use the service has helped the company grow further. In 2006, for example, a news feed appeared on the site, a scrollable list of updates and information, thanks to which users could be aware of status updates and the activities of their friends on Facebook.
In 2007, the company released a less noticeable, but no less significant change, namely the Facebook platform, a software environment for third-party developers of services and applications that could interact with the basic functions of Facebook.
In 2009, the “Like” button, a virtual “thumbs up” button, appeared on Facebook, and this symbol subsequently became synonymous with the social network. Now users can “like” photos, links and comments on Facebook.
Well-known Mentors Such as Mark Andressen and Steve Jobs Helped Zuckerberg Realize His Vision.
Although Zuckerberg is known for his social Internet network, in fact, he has also been very successful in creating offline dating networks.
Zuckerberg hired his closest friends as companions and collaborators. While his dorm roommates were initially skeptical, Zuckerberg managed to convince them.
Eduard Saverin will subsequently become Facebook CFO, and Dustin Moskowitz – Vice President. Andrew McCallum will create the Facebook logo and write code for his search engine, and Chris Hughes will be the first representative of Facebook.
A special place among the Zuckerberg comrades was held by Adam D’Angelo, the first head of the company’s technology department. Another former classmate became chairman of the Dartmouth Student Assembly, a valuable resource through which Zuckerberg was able to expand Facebook so that other Ivy League universities could learn about it.
Zuckerberg also sought the help of prominent, well-connected mentors. Sean Parker, creator of the Napster program, helped Zuckerberg learn how to deal with financiers, and also actively participated in the work of Facebook. Netscape co-founder and entrepreneur Mark Andressen was another useful mentor for Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg used his new acquaintances to establish others. A year after launching Facebook, Zuckerberg managed to consult with Bill Gates. Steve Jobs became another important mentor and friend of Zuckerberg in the early years of Facebook. They were often seen together on walks.
Zuckerberg clearly understood the significance of both virtual and real dating networks. However, many of us still do not fully understand the power that Facebook itself has. Next, you’ll find out what the Facebook effect really is and how it works.
Facebook Plays a Significant Role in Politics Right Up to National Elections
Given that Facebook brings together more than 500 million active users with just a few clicks, it is no exaggeration to say that this service has changed the communication of people within communities and can now affect political issues globally.
We call this shift the Facebook effect.
The most significant manifestation of the Facebook effect is political activity. In countries where you can go to jail for organizing a protest march, creating a community on Facebook to express your dissatisfaction can be not only less effective but also much safer.
Such a virtual community is better suited to keep its members up to date on violations, injustices, and corruption, as well as up to date news that can quickly spread through Facebook. In addition, Facebook makes political activity much cheaper. You do not need to spend money on flyers and handouts for demonstrations; instead, you can simply invite people and let them know about all the problems right on the page.
In Stellebons in South Africa in 2008, activists created the Facebook community to protest police drug fraud. In just two days, more than 3,000 people joined the community. Witnesses published photo and video evidence, while other members of the group organized a protest march and wrote petitions. As a result, the national Independent
Complaints Directorate took over the investigation of the situation, and the case was settled.
Facebook also played a big role in political elections, for example, in the 2008 campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama used Facebook more skillfully than his rival, Hillary Clinton. Obama’s informative and personalized Facebook page has garnered millions of fans. He shared information about his favorite music groups and impressed the young voters with his immediacy.
Closer and faster: Facebook has changed the way we communicate with people
When we want to connect with friends, we often turn to Facebook without even thinking. However, the instinctive use of social networks reflects the radical change in the communication styles Facebook has fostered.
He had already begun to highlight communication channels that used to be the norm. For many young people, for example, writing paper letters already seems archaic and incomprehensible.
Accessibility and convenience are some of the key features of Facebook. We can share the news with all our friends, without the need for a mailing list; if our friends are present on the site, we can chat with them in real-time. And if we are curious to find out the latest news, we can just check the profile of the person we are interested in.
Curiously, despite 500 million users, interacting with people on Facebook is akin to living in a small town. The social network creates a feeling of acquaintance between strangers, even if there is a geographical distance between them.
Participants can easily keep in touch no matter where they are. And, like in a small town, we are constantly surrounded by people who know us and care about us (at least, are interested), and even know about minor events in our lives.
This mentality is reflected in a diverse and often unexpected range of topics discussed on Facebook. For example, imagine that you just met a friend you don’t know very well and the first thing you show him is a photograph of what you ate for breakfast? Hardly. However, on Facebook, these are already generally accepted norms of behavior.
When we use Facebook, we are able to turn groups of former strangers into close-knit communities. In addition, as a platform that brings together several online ways to get in touch with people, Facebook slowly but surely destroys other means of communication.
Facebook Users Have Changed Traditional Media, Becoming Editors and Journalists for Themselves
Want to become a journalist?
Thanks to Facebook, you can report, write and post anything. And if your story is interesting enough, your post will become viral, reaching thousands of people.
Facebook users now have a greater influence on media content and how it can be obtained. Traditionally, newspaper editors chose which stories were most important, but today, every time you “like” an article or share it, it becomes available to more and more readers.
Citizen journalism has also become more accessible, as people can now publish the latest news from the source. Sometimes even real journalists get news from Facebook! For example, CNN reporters in 2010 first learned about the earthquake in Haiti from Facebook posts.
Facebook also poses a financial threat to traditional media by eating up a significant share of brand ads that were previously published in print and television. As a result, media revenue continues to fall, while Facebook advertisers tripled between 2008 and 2009. The largest American brands are now advertised through Facebook.
As they say, if you cannot defeat them, join them. Media companies are now starting to collaborate more with Facebook than to deal with it. For example, many media agencies have set up Facebook integration with their sites, enabling users to share and discuss news. CNN launched live reporting via Facebook via live messages from President Obama’s inauguration ceremony.
Our Beliefs About What is Suitable for Public Viewing and What Should Be Kept Private Have Also Changed With the Advent of Facebook.
- What does your best friend know about you?
- What about your boss?
What we share with other people and what others share with us has changed significantly with the advent of Facebook.
For many, Facebook has turned the separation of professional from personal into a problem.
Usually, we regulate how we present ourselves, depending on the situation. A bank clerk, for example, can present himself as a sedate and respectable at work, but after she puts on a biker jacket and plays with friends in a punk band in the evenings. In real life, these two personalities rarely mix.
But on Facebook, your profile is accessible to close friends and casual acquaintances from different times and aspects of your life. So, if you publish something personal, it is very likely that events and details from one part of your life will spread to others.
Our drummer clerk can post photos of the crazy concert on Facebook, although he is unlikely to want to show these photos to his boss. Nevertheless, the boss may well see them, even if he is not on the list of friends of this person.
It’s important to note that we also cannot control what other people post about us on Facebook. Our friends can tell awkward things or awkward photos that will link to us, but we won’t be able to delete them.
Thus, we can say that our sense of privacy has changed radically with the advent of Facebook. However, Zuckerberg, as well as other people, said that increasing transparency in all situations would minimize what we previously considered private.
While we can hide information that we think may discredit us, as soon as people begin to disclose similar information about themselves – drug use, health problems, etc. – Such information will no longer be considered defamatory, and people will get used to it.
And then what used to be private will become public, and it will become normal to share any information.
Or the opposite will happen. We will become more diligent in controlling the information that we consider private, and we will strive to this so much that we will hide any personal issues in any situation, not only on the Internet but also in real life.
Over time, thanks to effective and skillful positioning, the social network Facebook has achieved unprecedented success.
The site connects friends and strangers from around the globe, promotes activity and changes the face of modern media.
Facebook has also changed the way we communicate with each other today, and also changed our ideas about private and public.
Keep track of what you share!
The next time you want to share something personal on Facebook, make sure that this information will be available only to those people with whom you really want to share something.
Why You Should Read “The Facebook Effect”
- To understand more about the impact Facebook has had on society;
- To learn about the evolution of the world’s largest social network;
- To get inspired by such an amazing story
This book is available as: