Facebook 'very mainstream'

2010-10-02 15:45
San Francisco - Facebook now counts one of every two Americans as a user, would rank behind only China and India in population if it were a country and has an estimated value of more than $30bn, larger than that of Starbucks.

What could possibly be next for a website that was created in a Harvard dorm room six years ago? Try a Hollywood film, The Social Network, that opens nationally on Friday and is already prompting discussion of Academy Awards.

Many of the film's details are contested. But the very notion that average moviegoers will go to a film built around the history of a tech company underscores the extent to which Facebook has become a cultural mainstay.

"Facebook is more than just a geek phenomenon. It's very mainstream," said Dave McClure, a former executive at Web payment company PayPal and now an investor in tech start-ups.

The world's largest social network, Facebook allows people to connect with their real-world friends and acquaintances online and do everything from sharing baby photos and personal news to playing electronic versions of Scrabble.

Grandmothers, politicians and rock stars are among the more than 500 million people using the service worldwide. That helped it surpass Google Inc as the website on which Americans spend the most time every month.

Facebook taps into a basic need that people have to connect with each other, said David Weinberger, a researcher at Harvard's Berkman Centre for Internet and Society.

"Humans are an innately social species," said Weinberger. "We flock to social networking sites as it if was natural, because it is natural."

Under the direction of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's 26-year-old co-founder, the company has grown from a service available only to college students into a Web powerhouse, navigating a series of sticky privacy issues along the way.

It has become so big and popular, say industry analysts, that it poses a financial threat to established internet businesses like Google and Yahoo Inc .

Still privately held, the company will not sell stock to the public any sooner than 2012, Facebook board member Peter Thiel said recently. A brisk market in private shares of Facebook already exists, with the company valued at more than $30 billion, according to recent trades on Sharespost, one such secondary market.

Thiel believes the new movie - which he said "contains a lot of inaccuracies and petty lies and distortions" - will nonetheless add to Facebook's influence.

"It is actually going to encourage young Americans to move to Silicon Valley and to try to start great new companies. So I think the movie will do a lot more good than evil," he said.

Read more on:    facebook  |  mark zuckerberg  |  movies  |  social networks

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...

 

Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to go large with your significant other. Let go of obligations, expectations and chores and let the day play...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.