Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Facebook Obsession

After seeing the movie, The Social Network, I was inspired to read the book behind the movie, The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal written by Ben Mezrich. Then a friend recommended The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World written by David Kirkpatrick as it is claimed to be a truer account of how Facebook was founded.

After having read The Accidental Billionaires, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I was intrigued to read The Facebook Effect, just to see how the two books and accounts of the founding of this social phenomenon were different. I think the main difference between the two accounts is that The Accidental Billionaires is mainly from the point of view of Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, because Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, declined to speak to Mezrich for his book. However, The Facebook Effect is from the point of view of Zuckerberg and other co-founders, employees, and individuals involved with Facebook as Kirkpatrick was able to interview these people for his book. There are some similarities but also some differences in Saverin vs. Zuckerberg's points of view. For example, The Accidental Billionaires implies that Zuckerberg did not invest any of his own money into the founding of Facebook, whereas The Facebook Effect implies that he did invest his own and his parents' money into this startup.

At first, I thought I wouldn't enjoy reading Kirkpatrick's book because it was written in an expository style, whereas I prefer the narrative style which Mezrich used. However, I got more and more fascinated as I read The Facebook Effect because it not only informs the readers how Facebook was founded but also goes into more detail, unlike The Accidental Billionaires, about how all the features of this social networking site came about and how this small internet startup became a huge private company. Kirkpatrick also talks about how this site created by a few students at Harvard has impacted the ways of communication and how it continues to have a profound global impact.

I was fascinated immensely by both books because I live and breathe Facebook every day. As I am sure most of you are too, I am obsessed with Facebook and check it multiple times a day, especially now that it is so easy to get connected with my smart phone. Why are we so obsessed with Facebook? Why is there such a need to stay connected at all times? It is kind of sad but people hardly talk on the phone anymore; the main forms of communication today are either texting or using Facebook. Today, hardly anyone individually informs you if they have something important to share such as finding a new boyfriend, getting married, becoming pregnant, buying a house, or getting a new job. They just "update" their Facebook status or "update" their relationship status on Facebook to announce the news to their friends instantaneously. It has become quite a trend to "stalk" your friends on Facebook to keep up with what's happening in their lives. I actually get most of my news such as which celebrity passed away or which celebrity couple got married through Facebook rather than actually reading it on a website or a newspaper.

Since Facebook has become such an important of our daily lives, I highly recommend both books for all users. I hope you enjoy both of them as much as I did. Happy reading!

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