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The Facebook Effect

Allison Murphy & Jonathan Noller


The Facebook Effect by Kirkpatrick is about Mark Zuckerberg, the transformation of Facebook and its effects on society.  It first started in his dorm and then progressed into a large corporate company.  He took ideas from social media pages already created and what he thought his fellow students would want.  An example of this was he wanted to incorporate AOL’s success of AIM.  The statuses one can post on Facebook came from the idea of “away messages”. At first, Facebook had the same goal just to help Harvard students.  It was to help see what was going on in other students’ lives.  It was extremely private and exclusive only allowing Harvard students to join.

He wanted this to be a success since his previous site Corsematch and Facematch were local successes at Harvard.  The objective was “build something that has lasting cultural value and try to take over the world.”  It wasn’t just about him being successful though.  He wanted it to be something fun for all members.  This is why many of the features included evolve and are in place today.  Examples of how Facebook can be “fun” are; having “friends”.  Also the “poking” tool was something fun and flirty.   It was an immediate success because people were signing up to be Facebook members at a rapid rate.

It is thought that he stole the idea from now former Harvard students which he may have.  Kirkpatrick talked about the law suit against Zuckerberg from the people he “stole the idea from”.  The argument there is that Zuckerberg was the only one with enough drive to make it something.  He took the idea, acted on it and created the company.

The book talked about how Facebook has been changing the world.  Facebook is a place for awareness to be spread.  For example I’m sure if you have gone onto Facebook, somewhere in your recent Newsfeed has someone searching for likes.  For example, someone posted a picture of himself holding a sign saying, “My wife said if I got 1 million likes I can get a puppy.”  If you look under the picture at the amount of likes there are over a million.  Facebook is an easy way to get people to do things and in this case it was getting the wife’s permission.  There are pages for almost anything and if it gets enough likes, those pages can become world-wide spreading awareness to people in places that the creaters of the page never even hear of.

The book also talked about the financial acpects of Facebook.  It talked about how much money Zuckerberg invested in the company.  He got amazing offers to buy the company before it was even a site for a year.  All it took was $35 to buy the .com and now it is a company worth billions.  It talked about how advertising worked on the site and how strict Zuckerberg was on that.  They had to follow Zuckerberg’s “rules” and if they weren’t followed then they would be denied.  Today, millions of people use Facebook and are actively using it. “These systems have become so pervasive for communication that young people barely use e-mail anymore.”

In conclusion, my partner and I enjoyed reading this book.  We didn’t realize how involved the evolution of Facebook was.  It was fun to read because it was something we could relate to because we both use Facebook and have “grown up with it”.  We both would recommend this to anyone interested in social media, Facebook or self-driven people looking for inspiration.









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