Thomas Edmund's Reviews > The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick
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Oct 10, 2010

it was amazing

It's hard to comprehend an internet user who hasn't heard of Facebook, sure there are many out there who don't feel the need to use the application, and some who stubbornly resist signing up for various reasons (usually privacy fears or strange phobias of their friendships being somehow changed irreparably by the experience) but the chances are that if you've logged onto the World Wide Web you're familiar with the phenomenon known as Facebook.

In this work, Kirkpatrick takes us through a candid journey with Mark Zuckerberg, the brains behind the whole thing. It's a surprising journey in many ways, for one thing - compared to other `phenomenon' entrepreneurial tales, Facebook's is quite short, spanning barely more than half a decade. Despite this, there is more than enough material for a full non-fiction book, (and a feature length film.)

Most of the information for The Facebook Effect is straight from Zuckerberg himself, who like his creation, is open to sharing details of his personal and professional life with anyone who cares to see them. That is except for the specific details of a few lawsuits brought against Zuckerberg for theft of ideas - which unfortunately for us curious readers, were settled with confidentiality agreements meaning we'll likely never know the exact details of what went down behind closed doors.

The Facebook Effect, is really a story of delirious success, both financial and world changing. Even for those not so keen on geekery and computers, the political wrangling of the company supplies plenty of drama. For those heavily into Facebook, or at least who have been keeping up with the web app's changes over the past few years, you'll enjoy reading about the developments you've already experienced from the side of the developers - in particular I loved the irony when the `newsfeed' was added it allowed users easy access to groups they might want to join, which promptly lead to mass numbers joining anti-newsfeed groups.

Love it or leave it, Facebook has done what Zuckerberg intended it to - it has changed the way we conduct our social relationships - and thus changed society itself. Employees, employers and public figures are re-evaluating how they manage their very public profiles on Facebook, with some pundits predicting that rather than people tending towards circumspect and professional Facebook profiles, society will just come to accept that Facebook will reveal certain aspects of our lives that we don't necessarily want public, and not judge too harshly. Even if you don't have a profile yourself, there is no way you can prevent others from posting photos of you, or revealing personal information about yourself (although one might question why said acquaintance is doing so) so perhaps a society that doesn't judge our drunken photos too harshly is more preferable to trying desperately to keep such things from the internet.

My only real criticism of this book is it left me wishing that I had a college friend on the verge of creating a billion dollar company who just needed a small amount of investment to get started - and that I got to be one of those lucky fools who gave thousands only to have the investment return in the millions...
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