By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World
By David Kirkpatrick (Simon & Schuster, $22.99, softcover, 372 pages)
Facebook is the world’s second-most-visited site after Google and it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.
It has more than 700 million active users, adding 25 million new users every month. With its impact continuing to broaden both socially and politically, it far surpasses the few simple ideas espoused by its creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg says he’s trying to make the world a more open place by helping people connect and share.
Since over 30 per cent of the two billion people on the Internet worldwide now regularly use Facebook, it appears that a world that’s more outgoing and connected is necessarily a better world.
According to David Kirkpatrick, members of Facebook’s “radical transparency camp, Zuckerberg included believe more visibility makes us better people”.
While Kirkpatrick, an editor at Fortune magazine, was encouraged by Zuckerberg to write this book, it is an even-handed account of the company’s spectacular evolution. Getting extensive access to the CEO and his associates has resulted in a mostly considerate and sometimes gushingly sycophantic narrative.
The Facebook Effect is also uninhibited in dissecting slip-ups and consecutive privacy disputes. We gain a comprehensive understanding of how the company grew from a Harvard dorm-room project in 2004 into the world’s largest social network. It may also “be the fastest-growing company of any type in history.”
Atypical annotations are made of Facebook’s advancement and a competitive future that includes the likes of Twitter. Under scrutiny is its application in Colombia to organise protests against the hostage-taking FARC guerillas, its use by Obama supporters in the 2008 campaign and pressure against the 2009 Iranian election.
Deliberating on the impact of Facebook on advertising and the wider media terrain, this concise history argues that the company’s success is a combination of destiny, timing and the founder’s insistence that the technical aspects of the service operate smoothly.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.