by Sarah Shankel and Melanie Thibeault
Editor’s note: Neither Sarah Shankel nor Melanie Thibeault has ever met Mark Zuckerberg. This is a satirical interview and is not meant to be taken literally.
I’m willing to bet anyone who is reading this (and who has a Facebook account) has signed on to Facebook one day, expecting to see the usual format and maybe a few new notifications, only to discover that Mark Zuckerberg, once again bored with his own life, has updated everything. Facebook seems to be receiving facial reconstruction, but instead of actually making anything better, it seems to be aggravating its users and making them uncomfortable.
Recently, Facebook has been adopting many changes to its format, causing confusion and uproar among users as they sign on and see the adjustments for the first time. Curious and slightly annoyed, I wanted to get into the mind of its ingenious, albeit strange, creator, so I sat down with Zuckerberg at his office in Palo Alto, California to discuss the recent changes to the website, his take on the release of The Social Network and his plans for the future (Is he plotting to take over the world? Or at least the Internet?) In between games of speed chess with his co-workers, Zuckerberg answered a few of my questions and tried to parry the rest.
Let’s start off with a simple question: Why all the recent changes to Facebook?
Well, you see, the real question is “why not all the changes?” I mean, you can’t take away the only thing I have in life, which is the power over Facebook. If I wasn’t sitting around in my office all day, playing speed chess, seeing how long I can go without blinking and editing the privacy controls and layout of Facebook, what would I be doing? Using traditional methods to stalk people, like following people home and creeping outside their windows seems unacceptable today.
What was the idea behind the new friendship pages where you can see the connections between any two people? It seems a tad creepy.
I don’t like to think of anything on Facebook as “creepy.” The friendship pages are just another way for friends to connect and see how much they actually have in common. Maybe you and your best friend aren’t as close as you thought. Facebook can help you realize this and strengthen or destroy your friendship. Or maybe you and that quiet kid in your biology class like a lot of similar things; a love connection might be made, all thanks to the friendship pages.
Not being a very photogenic person, I can’t say I’m a fan of the new reel of five pictures that appears at the top of my profile now.
Well, I knew that it might not please everyone, but the purpose was to display photos that really represent who one is as a person. Personally, I wanted everyone to see the pictures of me and my mom and my friends—so my mom and our cats.
I liked having witty sayings or quotes in the “about me” box under my profile picture, but it seems you have taken that away from us, too. What’s the deal?
I felt that having an “about me” section seemed a little too vain for the social networking scene. One’s character is revealed through their status updates, photos and the information section. Also, this section was the most heavily hit by Facebook friend hackers and pranksters. After receiving numerous complaints from nerds and hipsters alike, I opted to eliminate it.
You’ve added a section called “philosophy,” which includes a space entitled “People Who Inspire You.” Who inspires you, Mark?
Bill Gates, definitely. I see a lot of myself in him; we’re both pale and overwhelmingly attractive. Geek chic, that’s what’s up these days. Also, I really look up to Andy Samberg, mostly because of his outstanding portrayal of me on Saturday Night Live.
A friend of mine has asked me to relay this question: “Why is it that Facebook allows Klingon as an actual language, but when I want to change my language to Parseltongue it doesn’t work. Why not?” I sense some favoritism.
Harry Potter only had two friends. That’s completely against all that Facebook stands for. I believe Parseltongue is a very exclusive language, something that negates the mission statement of expanding your network and circle of friends.
If I’m correct in my understanding, there is a new thing on Facebook that allows you to rate your friends or organize your top friends. Did you wake up one morning and say, “You know what was a good idea? MySpace. Let’s bring that back”?
Blasphemy. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. MySpace is for emo bands and twelve-year-old girls looking for illicit relationships. Facebook is a more sophisticated form of social networking open to anyone and everyone. We’re not looking to create a hierarchy of friends; Facebook is a place of equal opportunity, much like the fraternities I rushed. That is until I was rejected from most of them. On second thought, there is no place quite as equal as Facebook.
How do you feel about The Social Network?
You know, I think it was a pretty accurate portrayal, except I wish they had chosen someone more attractive to play me. I was thinking Robert Pattinson. I feel as though I give off that sexy, pasty, disheveled British vibe. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a huge Twilight fan. Huge. In fact, I think I’ll add Stephenie Meyer to my “People Who Inspire You” page.
Let’s be honest, Mark. Are you trying to take over the world?
(Mark begins to sweat profusely, but still refuses to blink.) By taking over the world, do you mean creating many several thousands of deep friendships? Strengthened by the hundreds of moments we share through uploaded photos and videos of drunken nights at the club where skinny white boys show us all how to Dougie? Then, yes, I’m taking over the world, and thank God I am, because where would we all be without Facebook? Still on MySpace with the creepers, that’s where.
What are you thinking about for the future of Facebook?
Well, I was thinking about a new relationship status, mainly for myself and…well, just myself: “awaiting shipment of mail order bride.”
Well folks, there you have it. Mark Zuckerberg in all his glory. Why did he make all these recent changes to Facebook? It’s all part of his quest to take over the social networking world and bring people closer together than they’ve ever been or want to be. In the process, more people will be stalked, more profiles will be creeped upon, and more embarrassing photos will be posted, causing people to question their decisions the next day. But in the meantime, there’s really nothing we can do about it because Zuckerberg, the twenty-six-year-old mastermind, has us all in the palm of his hand. Dislike. •