CHAPTER 13 Facebook: your new lounge

As in real life, so online. You used to have family and friends around to your house to catch up. You’d update each other and share holiday snaps. Now your family and friends are scattered around the world. You still share updates and photos but you do so on Facebook. Facebook is your new lounge.

The backstory

The rise and rise of Facebook is like some sort of strange mash-up: startup fantasy meets college-humour flick, smart techy teenagers develop a popular but ultimately useless invention and get rich.

Sounds fun but much like a recipe for a fad, which is why many executives spent so long ignoring or dismissing it as the purview of kids. As the saying goes in social media (with a smiling emoticon to set the tone): #fail.

For anyone still anchored by the origins of this story, here’s the update.

The social network was indeed started by Harvard college students in 2003, originally as ‘Facemash’, which allowed students to compare photographs of fellow students side by side and choose who was ‘hot or not’. Founder Mark Zukerberg later applied the same idea to an art history project, uploading images and opening them to comments from classmates. What became clear was that whether it was of girls or Augustan art, ...

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