Answer IT recently saw an article about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, which we found to be of great interest. Answer IT, being one of the largest providers of Facebook Marketing Services in the UK, can't help but wonder what's next for Mark.
How many articles have been written about Facebook in its eight-year history? Impossible to tell — by the time you came up with an estimate, no doubt, another dozen would have been added to the list.
It is, at least, easy to pinpoint the very first story written about the social network. It appeared in the Harvard Crimson on February 9, 2004, five days after Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com from his dorm room. The headline says it all: “Hundreds Register for New Facebook Website.”
Nowadays, of course, hundreds of new users sign up for Facebook every minute. But in those first few days, 650 signups across the university was a huge deal — and Zuck wasn’t shy when it came to crowing to theCrimson:
“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.”
This is classic young Zuckerberg; the same cocky punk who handed out business cards that read “I’m CEO, bitch.” Still, there’s one very humbling detail further down the article:
Just as with the popular website Friendster, which Zuckerberg said was a model for his new website, members can search for people according to their interests and can create an online network of friends.
That’s it — no mention of the Winklevoss twins, whom as we all know had been hoping to build a similar Harvard-based site with Zuckerberg’s help just weeks previously. But a very clear pointer to the primacy ofFriendster, the only widely-known social network at the time (save, perhaps, for the up-and-coming MySpace).
In 2004, Friendster was at the height of its powers, but also frustrating its users with slow load times, and on the edge of imploding. Some months after this article, it would begin a dizzying succession of CEOs that would hasten its decline (and eventual transformation into a Malaysia-based social gaming service).
If only someone had alerted Friendster’s founder (and then CEO) Jonathan Abrams to this genius coder at Harvard who had created an homage to his site, the future of social media might have turned out very differently.
Even then, however, it might have been too late. One week later, a second Harvard Crimson article on Zuckerberg revealed that the site had shot up to 4,300 users — or 55% of the student population. Facebook was well on its way.
Does the Facebook founder owe a debt of gratitude to Friendster? Let us know your thoughts in the comments