Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.) writer Andy Kessler met with Mark Zuckerberg, 22, of Facebook for an interview at the company’s Palo Alto offices.
Kessler tries to hone in on the social networking site’s peculiar “magic”:
Users have the ultimate control of who they hang out with electronically, and “only see the people that are in their networks” usually meaning the same college, “and the people that are their confirmed friends around Facebook,” perhaps old friends at another school.
This exclusivity has a certain magic. Zuckerberg says, “the power here is that people have information they don’t want to share with everyone. If you give people very tight control over what information they are sharing or who they are sharing with” (share that beer bong photo with my roommate, but not with my sister) “they will actually share more. One example is that one third of our users share their cell phone number on the site.”
With Facebook, exclusivity and control somehow means freedom. The more personal control, the more people are willing to let their guard down. “One billion page views a day is cool,” Mr. Zuckerberg admits, “but really what I care about is giving people access to connect and the information they want as efficiently as possible.”
I don’t use Facebook (yet), so I’m at a loss. MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks have exclusivity buttons. Facebook must have a deeper allure, or Zuckerberg woud have taken Yahoo’s billion dollar offer. But can anyone put their finger on it? What exactly, makes Facebook nearly four times as expensive on the acquisition block as MySpace?
In related news, Wired reports that the CIA uses Facebook to recruit. Which may answer my question. If one can scope hotties and get a job to make parents proud, all in a few clicks, that is powerful.