As a generation, we have grown up online. We turn to Google and Wikipedia for wisdom and advice. We trust them to answer any fleeting questions or frivolous curiosities and to give definition to the momentarily undefined. Twitter almost transcends the title of “social network” in favor of a personally impersonal journal in which users are given 140 characters to divulge impulsive ejaculations of thought or perhaps just to share what they ate for breakfast.
Making connections and developing relationships has taken on a whole new meaning in the digital age after Facebook swallowed up MySpace to become the exclusive virtual hangout of the Internet “in-crowd.” However, unlike your high school’s socially elite, Facebook is 800 million users strong, and the ball has only just begun to roll.
We’re no longer living in the moment, we’re commenting on it, liking it and sharing it with all of our friends. And now, Facebook can be shared in more ways than an embedded code or a hyperlinked URL.
Recently, the technological equivalent to a cultural revolution announced an initial public offering of stock. This is the most anticipated and widely discussed IPO since Google went public in 2004.
How does this reflect on the longevity of the company? What does this say about how we value technology and the companies that drive innovation? Can we rightfully ascertain that Facebook has now solidified itself as the unifying force of our generation and a permanent fixture in a culture ruled by institution? The questions keep coming.
When the shares become public, the company expects to raise $10 billion the first day, bringing the company value to $100 billion. As you read in The State Press, Google raised $1.6 billion when it went for sale in 2004 and is currently valued at $188 billion.
Part of Facebook’s success stems from its core values as a company and its innovative way of introducing changes to the user interface. They are constantly testing, rethinking and re-evaluating the interactive experience. Think of this as the evolution of the “Wall,” to the “Newsfeed,” to the “Timeline,” and how features like chat, video, music and the “Like” button have found permanent residence on your account.
In a letter penned by the digital messiah himself that accompanied the filing of the IPO, Mark Zuckerberg reached out to investors and gave them some insight into what goes on behind the walls of Facebook. Zuckerberg details this process and calls it, “The Hacker Way.”
Zuckerberg writes: “The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.”
However you take this news, one thing remains the same. Facebook will continue to thrive in its social relevance, and now, you can be a part of it, too.