Mark Zuckerberg, controversial founder of Facebook has been wowing the press; well,um, not exactly wowing them over the launch of new applications such as Skype for his coveted social network.
Zuckerberg was well portrayed in the movie; a likeably detestable individual whose unpopularity allowed him the reclusiveness required to formulate his website through the University’s intranet. In real life however, without the Hollywood gloss he is less charming, less charismatic than his rambling, ‘um-filled’ rhetoric at his product launch allowed him for.
The press eagerly awaited an Apple style, ‘guy-next-door’ type presentation so readily served up by the ailing Steve Jobs, but Zuckerberg – for a man who has developed the most popular social network – is devoid of the charm, wit and social understanding required to keep an audience hanging on his every word.
After a retelling of Facebook’s history he hurled mathematical equations and market graphs at an audience which only wanted to hear about the new ‘stuff’ Zuckerberg and his cronies were serving up for social network junkies. 12 Minutes of waffle brought us to ‘group chat’, a new feature which allows multiple group members to talk simultaneously. Obviously this groundbreaking feature has never been seen before and the likes of MSN makers Microsoft must be quaking in their boots at the ‘competition’.
Of course all monopolies need challengers and while Zuckerberg’s empire is still clearly growing and users are losing their jobs and indeed actual social lives thanks to his virtual cancerous old boys club, the innovation is hardly exciting.
On the subject of old boys, the Zuckerberg caravan truly encapsulates the ‘geek shall inherit the earth’ sentiment perfectly. Not one of them would have managed to speak to a female let alone stand a chance of faux procreation with one were it not for their internet endavours.
The polo shirt and jean brigade on display with their ‘ummy’ riddled dialogue wouldn’t look out of place at a comic or gaming convention with a fresh batch of ‘derpy’ smack talk, bragging about their headshot count – which would be great for other like minded geeks, but not so for the gathered press who needed something tangible and interesting to relay to their respective readers and viewers.
The addition of Skype to Facebook really indicates a shift towards centralizing the social site as the centre of the internet universe, giving users a platform from which to completely socialise, search and infoshare. While that may not seem so terrible, the ramifications are that between Google, Microsoft and Facebook we’re heading for a world where freedom of information will become a difficult thing to maintain.
Make no mistake, Facebook and its creators are a powerful corporation with massive influence over our internet, so much so that cases of ‘Social Network Addiction’ are becoming prevalent. In a world dominated by Macs, PC’s and other devices we’re rapidly becoming separated from our real communities because the virtual world satisfies almost (if not) all our social needs in one. We really need to step out the front door a little more often and live in the real world.
Zuckerberg’s creation – monster? – does have its place; there are those of us who live a long way from our loved ones and for that it’s a wonderful tool, but to read the daily minutae of every single so-called friend, especially ‘gurgling baby nonsense’ or ‘who can’t remember last night’ is just completely unnecessary.
I do admire Mark Zuckerberg for having the tenacity to form an idea (or steal one depending on which story you believe) and run so hard with it that the internet has been irrevocably reshaped. His stamp, whether good or bad, is as indelible as the Nazca lines or the Pyramids of Giza but for the most part his persona is as forgettable as anything Victoria Beckham or Katie Price have to say.
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images: time.com, under30ceo.com, ideagrove.com, rt.com, alsfunnystuff.com