Do you Facebook?
Of course you do, and so do I. I Facebook every single day, it makes me more connected and complete. Life is wonderful in Facebook, spend yours here too!
Anyway, I have heard your voice, spidered your posts, scanned your photos and imprinted your wall and profile on my ever-expanding heart. I hear your grievances and they number at least 1.45% on the general scale of importance and I just wanted to write this post and share it with you so that you could feel my pain too and therefore understand better that, though famous and wealthy, I still care about little pups like you.
Truth is, when I started Facebook I never intended it to be as big as it got, sure I was a clever dude who liked programming and wanted to be popular, but the reality is that meeting people in real life is hard work and can sometimes be disappointing.
So I came up with a solution – make your life up, online:
In the early days, with funding in my pocket, I just wanted Facebook to be loved, to be used, to grow. We gave you lots of free stuff, we connected you with friends, we curated the world that 50% of you use every day. Of course, free cannot last… and even before we went public, we were already working on ways in which to generate revenue from Facebook. We’re not a NFP or charity!
There’s been the odd hiccup on the way, but the funny thing is people complain a lot, and then continue to use the service. That’s just the way it is. The way we go about rolling out controversial services is an age-old trick: try to get away with something really bad, and then when you launch something that isn’t quite so bad, it looks good. Obama did it with ‘the Fiscal Cliff’: gets a good reputation but still raises taxes.
Our first advertising was too subtle, too missable, too ineffective. We tried to copy what Google does with search (but with pretty pictures) and it wasn’t very well targeted. But, you learn from mistakes, and we learnt we needed to get adverts into your feeds and get more information on you for advertisers. And, what better way to do that then to lever your name, and your ‘Likes’ to your friends? Nothing beats owning your relationships.
Since we went public we now have investors and shareholders who expect us to improve our profitability every year. So, the only way to do this is to either improve our advertising performance for those willing to pay, or to charge people. I am not sure the world is ready to pay for Facebook, so we have to run with the advertising.
With advertising we also have a paradox: the better the profiling and use of your data, the better targeted the advertising to your needs and the fewer adverts you see. However, if you want to keep your personal data to yourselves, then we will have to put more adverts in front of you.
Of course some will moan, but the numbers don’t lie – people are continuing to use Facebook, more frequently, even with advertising. So, whatever is said, the world Likes Facebook. A lot.
And, if you really don’t Like it, then you can Poke it!