Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, came back to his old stomping ground and sat down with John Hennessy, president of Stanford University (SU) to discuss how social media will change the world.
Zuckerberg explained that prior to the lunching of Facebook, “if people wanted to communicate ideas or messages over the Internet, they could do so only in very small private groups, such as by email, or in a very public forum, such as a message board or blog. Ideas and innovations weren’t reaching their potential in these forums, he said, because not enough people were seeing the concepts, or the originator wasn’t comfortable sharing more broadly.”
Zuckerberg continued: “I think the fundamental idea that Facebook brought was creating this private space that didn’t exist before, and by unlocking and opening that space, there’s a huge potential to allow people to communicate their ideas.”
With an estimated 3rd of the world’s population having access to the internet, Zuckerberg believes that the human community is being “robbed of an opportunity to benefit from the innovation that all those folks who are not connected can bring. I want Facebook, and other social apps, to do more than share the moments of day-to-day, but to really have utility and solve big challenges.”
Last August, Zuckerberg announced his new “rough plan” to develop technological ideas for the developing world.
Facebook currently offers a stripped-down version of its website to less than smartphones. For Android phones, Facebook has the Facebook Home app that has not proved to be as popular as anticipated.
The formation of a technological coalition would give internet access to an estimated 5 billion people.
Internet.org is the brainchild. Members of the coalition include:
• Media Tek
According to the website, Internet.org “is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it. Sharing tools, resources and best practices, Internet.org partners will explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency, and business models.”
Zuckerberg said: “Everything Facebook as done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect.”
Developing countries pose “huge barriers” to connecting to the internet “and joining the knowledge economy.”
Internet.org is tasked with making “internet access available to the two thirds of the world who are not yet connected.”
The founding members of the coalition will:
• Collaborate on joint projects
• Share industry knowledge
• “Mobilize” the industry
• Work with governments to bring the internet to developing nations
Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson said: “We are committed to shaping the Networked Society (NS) – where everyone and everything will be connected in real time, creating freedom, empowerment and opportunity to transform society.”
Combining social and media networks, organization of the individual and the whole can be shaped by the actions of the masses with the least effects coming from the individual.
Essentially, the movement of the many overrides the actions of the few.
Barry Wellman, former sociologist for the University of Toronto, envisioned societies as networks and not bound by hierarchical structures.
Wellman has also developed the idea of networked individualism that focuses on “the network society: community, work and organizations.”
Manuel Castells, creator of the idea of social morphology, explained : “The definition, if you wish, in concrete terms of a network society is a society where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processed information networks. So it’s not just about networks or social networks, because social networks have been very old forms of social organization. It’s about social networks which process and manage information and are using micro-electronic based technologies.”
Castells points out that NS the will take our current information society to new heights.
He recognizes that “cultural, economic and political factors that make up the network society. Influences such as religion, cultural upbringing, political organizations, and social status all shape the network society. Societies are shaped by these factors in many ways. These influences can either raise or hinder these societies.”