The face behind Facebook

Facebook founder 006

A post in my Facebook  Newsfeed reads: ‘Listening to Pandit Shiv kumar Sharma – Raga kirvani.’

Apparantly,  the person who posted it believes this  interests  his FB friends.

Another post:  ‘Of to Bangalore with family’

Comment – Enjoy and be safe.

Most people in my age-group are not on Facebook.  I am 75.  Some of my friends declined my invite saying  FB was not their scene.  My friends associate FB with the youth who post mundane info. about about their lives that might interest those close to them and no one else.

What my friends do not realize is that Facebook can also be used for promoting one’s pet idea,  project or a product.  Over the years I have created Facebook pages –  Mysore Banyans,  OMR Resident,  OMR Greens –  that have connected me with people with similar interests;  people with whom I wouldn’t have otherwise come in contact.  Facebook has potential to connect you with strangers who share your interests.  Our relationship may not develop further, but we stay connected on FB,  sharing our ideas, thoughts on an issue of our common concern.

An issue of common concern  in my OMR neighbourhood in Chennai,  pertains the neglect of Padur lake. And to highlight the need for residents initiative to intervene we have created a Facebook page – Saving Padur Lake.  This. we believe,  is one way to reach out to high-rise residents,  mostly IT professionals, who are too busy commuting to work to explore their surroundings on OMR.

Till we came up with the FB page they were not aware of the existence of Padur lake,  that can, with proper development, would provide such natural recreational setting in their own backyard. My old friends who declined my invite to join Facebook are missing out on something,  and they don’t even know of it.

Someone has opened a Facebook page –  Off Campus News – that posts  info on company recruitment, internship openings, and placement not only in IT sector but other industry as well – ‘One stop Information center for Offcampus, walkins & referal drives’.

Social science researcher Brene Brown, seeking people’s views on their perception of  ‘vulnerability’  posted a note asking FB  contacts to recount events,  incidents or circumstances that betrayed vulnerability. Within 30 minutes she received 150 responses.

Facebook has evidently come a long way from its launch by Mark Zuckerberg, a Harvard undergrad, with friends from their dorm. Mark and friends came with Facebook,  as an online forum to connect the student community at Stanford,  Columbia and Yale,  who shared ideas.  Students got to read, not only about their studies, but other interests,  friends,  career plans and a load of other things the youth get to talk about.

I doubt if Mark himself  realized in 2004  that his social networking model would have such sweeping reach among Internet users the world over;  and make him a billionaire before he is 30.  Zuckerberg’s  meteoric rise evokes widespread interest in the man,  his life,  mindset,  friends,  daily routine,  his passion,  prejudices and regrets.

Viewed in this context the expectations with which a reader would open the Billionaire Boy  would remain largely  unmet,  as she/he runs through this 184-page volume.  Harper Collins publication of  Mark Zuckerberg  in His Own Words  disappoints.  I wouldn’t blame George Beahm  who put together the content of the book,  which is a compilation of excerpts from Zuckerberg’s speeches,  public utterances and media comments.

He doesn’t have much to say other than that Facebook’s  mission is to connect people and make this a more open world. Celebrities,  irrespective of their age and limited experience in life,  are obliged to express opinions on every subject.  And their inane observations are widely quoted.

A transcript of CNN interview excerpted in the ‘Billionaire Boy’ cites Mark’s take on learning Chinese.  ‘It was a humbling experience,’  Mark is quoted a saying – ‘an experience that has led me to travel to China, learn about its culture and history,  and meet a lot of very interesting people’. Isn’t this the experience the rest of us  who  learn a foreign language ?  But coming from Zuckerberg,  these words become quotable.

Another notable quote from him carried in The Wall Street Journal in September last reads:  ‘Some days are hard, and some days kick ass‘.

I am afraid,  I am not so with-it to understand  Zuckerberg’s idiom  – kick ass days.

Movie director David Fincher,  of  Social Network,  is quoted in Time magazine as saying ,  he doubted if anyone  told Mark he was a loser.  And Zuckerberg , on the movie  Social Network , said they  got it all wrong.  In his address at Stanford he is quoted as saying,  ‘They frame the movie as if the whole reason for making Facebook and building something was because I wanted to get girls’.

As member of Blogadda  book review programme I was privileged  to get a copy of  Billionaire Boy for review from its publishers Harper Collins.