The Facebook Effect: 2011 26 Book Challenge #3

Big Picture Web reviews The Facebook EffectNearly two months ago I announced my plans to read 26 books throughout 2011, along with fellow bloggers Arik Hanson and Patrick Garmoe. I recently wrapped up book number three, The Facebook Effect, by David Kirkpatrick, thanks to the daily commute on I-494 and Audible at 2x speed. Read on to see while you'll probably enjoy The Facebook Effect, as well as a few quotes that I felt best summed up the book.

First of all, Arik suggested I read The Facebook Effect so we could attend the KaneCo Book Club on March 29th and discuss the book with some smart social folks in the Twin Cities. There's plenty of time between now and then in case you haven't read it yet.

Arik finished and reviewed The Facebook Effect a few weeks ago and posted some of what he felt to be the most powerful quotes from the book. For my review, I'll focus on a few key quotes from Arik's review and why I think they're important.

The Psychology of Facebook

"I concluded in that first lunch that the key to Mark is that he is a psychologist."

- Chris Ma, Washington Post Co.

A large part of Facebook's success is due to the amount of attention the company pays to how people interact with social software. Mark Zuckerberg has insisted from the very beginning that the experience of the user is critical. His goal was simply to promote the maximum amount of engagement between Facebook and its users. As a result, new Facebook users sky-rocketed each time they allowed more people to sign up for the service. Create an excellent experience and customers will reward you. Take this as a lesson in the value of understanding your customers and their needs.

Facebook Vs. Google

"Facebook has the opportunity that Google only wishes  it had - the ability to build a credible position for the largest brand advertisers."

- Alan Gould, Nielsen IAG

Some of my favorite parts of The Facebook Effect came from the dynamics between the two Internet giants, Facebook and Google. Personally, I think the two companies appreciate eachother more than anything. Google's motto is Don't be Evil. Facebook's is Don't be Lame. Google's bread and butter is understanding what people do on the Internet. Facebook's forte is understanding what they save about themselves. The two companies are modern contemporaries with surprisingly similar goals and missions.

Plus, Google and Facebook can always point at eachother whenever anti-trust talks fire up. The two tech giants almost seem to rely on eachother and a few other players such as Microsoft and Apple in almost every market as they collectively orchestrate their online oligopoly.

Facebook and Privacy in Social Media

"We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. WE simply did a bad job with this release and I apologize for it."

- Mark Zuckerberg after a new feature was met with resistance

Within the quote above is a textbook response to a mistake from a company that embraces and understands social media. Zuckerberg straddles the line between simplity in sharing and intruding on our lives, and owns up to making mistakes in which he makes people share too much, too quickly. I admire this type of transparency and accountability.

Before reading The Facebook Effect I was a little leary of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. After reading it, I have to say I have a newfound respect for both the social media phenomenon and the man behind it.

Have you read The Facebook Effect? What did you think? What was the number one thing you learned about Facebook and/or Mark Zuckerberg? Has your opinion of the social media service changed since reading the book? Share your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to register for the book club so we can discuss The Facebook Effect in person on March 29, 2011. (At this point there are only a few slots left. Hurry if you want to join us.)