Monday, May 6, 2013
Cheers for Mark Zuckerberg
One thing that Mark Zuckerberg learned from his Facebook experience is impression management. We all engage in it, more or less, and ever more if we have a Facebook account. You know what I am talking about: uploading the most flattering pictures, boasting about the holiday we had or listing languages in the profile which in reality we barely know. Ervin Goffman, a sociologist said that we constantly engage in impression management, especially if we have a public present in front of us. In this case, we are talking about Facebook public, only Mark is more brilliant than the rest of us, since he behaves like a chameleon depending on who is in front: the users, investors or advertisers. For instance, just before Facebook went public Mark made the following statements: ‘Our mission is to make the world more open and connected’, and ‘Applications aren’t the centre of the world…people are.’ So, either he forgot what he was saying or his impression management experience taught him that by the time his first quarter results in 2013 appear, everyone will forget about his statements. Because it appears that revenues from advertising make 85% of total revenues, and that earnings are boosted by new targeting tools for advertising, including applications. Ha-ha-ha, very funny, Mark. But it doesn’t end up here. Trust me, one can write a book about impression management and Mark. Due to a lack of time, I will restrict myself to a couple of other interesting observations about Zuckerberg and impression management. For instance, the same sociologist (Ervin Goffman) said that we either have signals that we give or give off. Giving signals is something we do when we want to create a certain impression, while signals that we give off is when we simply go on with our business, regardless of what others think. Now, Mark proclaimed that from now on he will take a 1$ dollar salary per year. This is, obviously, a signal he gave: ‘I care about the people who work for me, and don’t give a damn about money…it’s all about people after all.’ This is in line with his interview for Times when asked about making money, he answered that Facebook wasn’t about making money and that he, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about money. The signal he gave off though was when he sold some of his shares in Facebook just before it went public and made $ 2,3 billion. His net worth is 14 billion dollars. But no, he, obviously, doesn’t care about money, he cares about people. As to people, I am pretty sure that most users missed the fact that everything you do online while your Facebook is open, is immediately recorded by Facebook…in order to make advertisement more appealing to you. Sounds little bit like Beacon to which most users protested when it was implemented, but seem to have forgotten since then. I mean, who cares, right? Facebook is a wonderful tool and if they need to make some money to make it happen, why not? But in case, you do want to protest, you can’t really. Facebook banned its voting mechanism, so that you, the users, leave all the hurdles to Facebook itself and just enjoy the experience. It's all about people after all, isn't?