There’s no way that a book about social networking and technology and social-networking technology wouldn’t unfold in and around a bunch of meetings, and, boy, is The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, by David Kirkpatrick, ever the mother lode. Beginning with late-night brainstorming and coding sessions when Mark Zuckerberg and Co. were still at Harvard, through sitdowns with potential investors in Silicon Valley, to internal meetings and industry conferences and Facebook’s own events — the world’s biggest virtual-communication company is all about the face-to-face.
Indeed, the book begins with the story of a civil engineer in Colombia who used Facebook to arrange a protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that was attended by millions of people worldwide in February 2008. As Zuckerberg tells Kirkpatrick: “We did some thinking and we decided that the core value of Facebook is in the set of friend connections. We call that the social graph, in the mathematical sense of a series of nodes and connections. The nodes are the individuals and the connections are the friendships. … We have the most powerful distribution mechanism that’s been created in a generation.”