The Facebook Effect, book review

“The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World”
By David Kirkpatrick

book cover

The website “Thefacebook” was created in 2004 (February 4) at Harvard University.  It has become what we know today as “Facebook”…

On page seven, it is explained that:  “…The Facebook Effect happens when the service puts people in touch with each other…about a common experience, interest, problem, or cause…”

The book begins with the story of Mark Zuckerberg’s arrival at Harvard, and an initial computer project he designed that would lead to the beginnings of the type of service Facebook has become.

If you’re interested in the history of social networking, there is a lot of information in (chapter three of) the book about it:  services that were, and are, in this category….some of them no longer exist, some do…how others have matured from what they were, to what they are…

As I’m reading the book, I’m seriously considering NOT watching the upcoming movie “The Social Network”.  I can’t imagine that I will appreciate it because I expect the movie to take some artistic liberties in its presentation of events, as other similar movies have.  I guess I’m more interested in facts than drama…

There’s much explanation about how Facebook was financed.  A lot I don’t understand, but anyone interested in how business investement can be done should enjoy the depictions of how some funding was courted…and others discouraged.

For me, some of the major timeline markers of the evolution of Facebook are:

  • changing from “Thefacebook” to “Facebook” (2005 September 20)…
  • when it began, Thefacebook was designed to service college students…in the fall of 2005, it allowed students in high school to use the service…
  • in May of 2006, Facebook was opened to businesses and companines including the military…
  • September 26th (2006), Facebook launched open registration which allowed the general public to become members…
  • and (as of 2009) Facebook is the world’s largest photo site, besting Flickr.

After reading halfway through the book, it becomes less “sexy” to me.  There’s a lot of great information in it about the organism of Facebook…the people in the company, and how they have functioned together…but after long periods of reading I am reminded of Charlie Brown’s teacher (what I take-away is in a haze of information, scenarios, and stories).  I don’t think it’s the writing…my perception is probably enhanced by the circumstances under which I am reading the book…

[After learning about the movie “The Social Network”, and the “The Facebook Effect”, I wanted to review this book and have my review available (at least a week) before the movie was in theaters.  The week before the movie was released, I needed to spend an entire week attempting to salvage data from old hard drives.  When I was able to return to reading, it seemed that all the stuff that held my attention had been read…and, with only a few days left before the release of the film, I found myself trudging through the book.]

There are a lot of great descriptions of how Facebook came to be, and where it may go.  Take your time digesting this book.  Some of what is in it can come in handy in the future if you are in similar situations and need to consider what actions to take, and how to react to issues of a beginning and growing organization.

On page 340 I found the “Notes” section:  notes that pertain to pages I have read.  As I was reading, I did not see ANY footnote markings, so you need to be aware of this BEFORE you being to read so you can consider referring to this “Notes” section as you go along (to see if any of the notes enhance the section you are reading).  My preference is to have the “Notes” section at the beginning of the book so I know it’s there, and can refer to it as I am reading the book…

http://books.simonandschuster.com/Facebook-Effect/David-Kirkpatrick/9781439102114

http://www.facebook.com/thefacebookeffect

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