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THE FACEBOOK EFFECT BY DAVID KIRKPATRICK

THE FACEBOOK EFFECT BY DAVID KIRKPATRICK

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The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

The book ‘The Facebook Effect’ was written by David Kirkpatrick that addresses the emergence of social media and the consequent disappearance of previously dominant forms of communication such as e-mail and text messages. Within the social media circles, Facebook is clearly the global leader that has efficiently rendered e-mail services by companies such as Yahoo and G-Mail useless. In reality, a vast number of the e-mail services are being replaced by social media sites. Results from several studies done by Sandberg revealed that about 10% of young people used their email accounts daily basis; however, about 90% of the same generation chose to send messages by means of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook (Kirkpatrick 2010). While not nearly all email users could begin to fathom life without it, Kirkpatrick, in his book, predicted that the email technology was slowly being phased out (Kirkpatrick 2011). Sandberg’s estimates were also incorrect in that they presented figures on the number of adolescents in the United States who used email to communicate on a daily basis but failed to illustrate the mode of its application.

Most of the information in the book was collected from a face-to-face interview with the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and therefore, most of the claims made in the book can be validated accurately. Kirkpatrick managed to earn unprecedented access and trust to Zuckerberg and most of the Facebook employees that enabled him to assemble material for this book. This detailed and authentic source of information made up for a historically accurate and comprehensive account of one of the most successful social media companies (Kirkpatrick 2011). Facebook was initially created in a student hostel in the year 2003, with its primary purpose being that of allowing Zuckerberg and his other Harvard colleagues to evaluate each other’s good looks and flirt on a digital platform; this was the basis of Facebook’s popular feature, the poke (Harkin 2010).

After the initial success in Harvard, Facebook took a short time before it transformed into a universal public facility, allowing members to assemble and create whatever digital connections they wanted. In a manner that surprised even Zuckerberg himself, Facebook quickly extended to other campuses, then to high schools and then to other social settings such as online dating. The statistics that accompanied this dispersion were overwhelming. By January 2013, Facebook had registered over 340 million members, who invested a collective 7.93 billion minutes daily on Facebook (Kirkpatrick 2011).

The arrival of Facebook was well timed as it was launched at a time when people were getting used to spending more time online that was facilitated by the faster internet connections. Kirkpatrick illustrated how cleverly Zuckerberg redefined his new creation, constantly servicing its minimalist appearance and refining its appetite for additional information. The website’s core engine of growth was integrated in its networking effect. Like other similar communications network, Facebook’s utility advanced as more members subscribed and discovered their friends. This had the effect of attracting those who were recent members to send the message to yet other people. Previous publications on Facebook including Ben Mezrich’s book that was titled The Accidental Billionaires have concentrated on the quarrels and personal interactions of those concerned in its premature phase (Kirkpatrick 2010).

Conversely, Kirkpatrick’s broad-ranging access permitted him to focus more on what Mark Zuckerberg was trying to accomplish. In his sometimes-unsophisticated willpower to realize his dream, Zuckerberg demonstrated his ability to deal more of an idealist as he was an engineer. For Mark, Facebook was initially a social movement and not a publishing platform (Zarrella 2010). Zuckerberg was not stimulated by financial gains as he consistently declined any offers to sell his company but was instead motivated by a zeal for sweeping transparency. He believed that sharing data and exposing private lives to the public would convert humans into better people. A smaller gap between private and public lowers the possibility for insincerity and irresponsibility, making it difficult, for instance, for people to be dishonest with their partners. Critics of such idealistic stands pointed out that such radical openness also made it easier for social sites to observe what members were doing. This idea made many people uneasy (Arrington 2010).

Kirkpatrick noted that with the increased technical additions by the Facebook engineering team, Zuckerberg was even able to engage in several social experiments for his own gain. For example, he mentioned that by analyzing friend relationships and patterns of communications, he could establish with about 35% accurateness that a member would enter into a relationship within seven days of the study being conducted (Ledbetter et al 2011). To estimate this, he calculated who looked at what profiles, who was friends with whom among other pointers. Although Facebook may seem like a reputable element of the Internet, the corporation was more delicate than it appeared. Companies dependent on a network platform tend to collapse as quickly as they flourish (Raynes-Goldie 2012). Outcries over privacy have flooded Facebook for several years since its inception. The challenge now is to newer sites to provide their members with a guarantee to their privacy, and this would effectively lead to Facebook disappearing as quickly as other social sites such as Friendster or Bebo (Sandberg & Scovell 2103).

Facebook currently finds itself sandwiched between user complaints on privacy and commercial incentives. Kirkpatrick’s account concludes with the entry of Sheryl Sandberg who was employed by Facebook to make it more attractive to investors. To her credit, Sandberg has performed extremely well. Facebook makes a large part of its profits by assisting companies to target prospective clients more efficiently than conventional media. As of last year, Facebook realized an estimated $810million in revenues (Shih 2011). The influence of these changes is notable on advertising and marketing industries is gradually being felt. Kirkpatrick has outlined the authoritative account of Facebook’s gradual ascend to power.

References

Arrington M, 2010, Review: Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect Is A Wonderfully Biased History Of Facebook”, Techcrunch, Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/24/kirkpatrick-facebook-effect/

Harkin J, 2010, Review The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick, The Observer.

Kirkpatrick D, & Verhagen, P, 2011, Facebook. Amsterdam: Boekerij.

Kirkpatrick D, 2010, The Facebook effect: the inside story of the company that is connecting the world. New York, Simon & Schuster.

Kirkpatrick D, 2010, The temptation of Facebook. Fortune, 161, 7, 64-70.

Ledbetter, A., Mazer, J., DeGroot, J., Meyer, K., Yuping, M., & Swafford, B, 2011, Attitudes Toward Online Social Connection and Self-Disclosure as Predictors of Facebook Communication and Relational Closeness. Communication Research, 38, 1, 27-53.

Raynes-Goldie, K, 2012, Privacy in the Age of Facebook: Discourse, Architecture, Consequences. PhD. Curtin University, Perth, Australia.

Sandberg S, & Scovell N, 2013, Lean in women, work, and the will to lead. New York, Alfred A. Knopf. Retrieved from http://www.contentreserve.com/TitleInfo.asp?ID={B4C1EC61-BF32-48C0-9AD0-0806A8037910}&Format=410

Shih, CC, 2011, The Facebook era: Tapping online social networks to market, sell, and innovate, Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Zarrella, D, 2010, The social media marketing book. Farnham: O’Reilly.

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