Facebook: The Flattering Bully



Thirteen years ago, Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe brought us Myspace. For those of who remember Myspace, it’s hard to forget “Tom”. He was “friends” with everyone, appearing in everyone’s “friend list” in a small box wearing a plain white t-shirt.


Twelve years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and a group of friends gave us Facebook. Now, unlike Myspace, as users, we are not all “friends” with Mark Zuckerberg. He would be a cool friend to have in your friend circle though, so I can’t say I would mind being able to pick his brain about the behemoth of a social channel.


Ten years ago, four guys gave the world the ability to send messages in 140 characters. Cryptic? Maybe to some. Morse code? No.


Twitter. In 2006, we began tweeting. Or as grandparents all over the world say, “twittering” or using “the tweeter”.


Six years ago, the world was introduced to Instagram. Millions of users took to the platform to share our photos and videos. We started using “filters” to edit images and took to hashtagging like with Twitter. Then it seems, we became so fascinated with images and filters that we embraced something new.


Drum roll, please. Snapchat. Five years ago, the application of disappearing content began to take the world by storm. Snapchat originated under the name “Picaboo”, just as Twitter began as “Odeo” and many others were born under different names. The goal of Picaboo was to provide a way to send messages to others that disappeared. If you are keen to pay attention to connotation, the goal of the application was to provide a platform for content that was “explicitly short-lived”, if you get what I’m saying.


So now, we have other platforms like Meerkat and Periscope that allow for live video broadcasting which have influenced the likes of Facebook. Over the next ten years, it will be increasingly difficult for new platforms to gain a foothold. Although future founders will have great ideas, they will be bullied into selling way before their time. The biggest bully in the social media marketplace is Facebook. Facebook is the Donald Trump of social media. Facebook is the guy who buys everyone’s property in the game of Monopoly and puts up hotels. Simply put, Facebook can put your idea in business or put you out of business.


In 2012, Kevin Systrom and Mark Kreiger sold Instagram to Facebook for $1 billion. Not a year later, Facebook tried to buy the ability to send explicitly short-lived photos from Snapchat for $3 billion. Snapchat owners Evan Piegel and Bobby Murphy didn’t sell. They are, in effect, the two younger siblings so used to be pushed around that it wasn’t unbearable because they had hope, like all younger siblings have.


Last year, there was a lot of speculation that Facebook would make a particular purchase. Then, this year, Facebook introduced live broadcasting. Original idea? No. Another idea popping up just like a Meerkat, or should I say Periscope? If Facebook does not buy your idea from you, Facebook will copy you. He is the older sibling in the game of Monopoly who puts a hotel up just before your property just because you added one to yours.


They say that copying is the highest form of flattery. The next ten years are sure to make Facebook the most flattering bully out there.


Social Media and News

The news article that I chose for this assignment was this article (Links to an external site.) on yesterday’s earthquake in Italy. It was posted by CNN today under the headline “Before and after photos show impact of Italy’s earthquake” and featured and image of the earthquake. The first few lines featured read, “A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday morning, toppling buildings and killing at least 241 people.” The inverted pyramid strategy used provided me with valuable information and provided me with a clear picture of why this is newsworthy without having to do any further reading. The article also included engaging videos of rescuers pulling a girl from rubble.

It also used powerful quotes like, “”They know right now it’s a race against time. They believe it’s about 72 hours those people would be able to survive.” Experts and witnesses were interviewed, providing a clear picture of what is going on and made the disaster feel so much closer to home than it is.

The story also used the previously mentioned before and after photos to show the changes in landscape. The words that accompanied the photos were my favorite part about the photos shared in the body of the article. The pictures were powerful, and yet, the words made them even more impactful. The first series of photos stated, “The Clock Tower Still Stands”. The caption was “A clock tower in the center of the mountainous town of Amatrice is frozen at 3:36 a.m. — the time the earthquake struck.” Those two sentences really hit me. They made the situation all the more real. CNN properly attributed ownership to the photos, as was discussed in lecture.



The story was told from a hard news approach but incorporated many human elements, making it feel like more of a feature. The videos and photos really made the whole story come full-circle. It was hearing from rescuers, witnesses, experts, and victims in the video and the before and after photos shown that made the story come alive.