When I got this notification in my Twitter feed this morning, sent from the ever informative Search Engine Journal stalwart, Matt Southern, I thought ‘big wow’. Yes, it takes quite a lot to impress me.
Never one to be deterred by simple boredom though, I thought ‘well, I am supposedly an SEO Copywriter, I’d better watch this and keep abreast of the current trends in SEO’. I know; dedication or what?! Sometimes I think I deserve a Nobel prize for my unrelenting devotion to all things Search Engine orientated.
So down I sat on a rainy Friday afternoon to watch the hour+ long video of Mark Zuckerberg’s Q&A session and, much to my amazement, I was actually quite impressed.
For those of you who live on the moon, I’ll just quickly explain that Mark Zuckerberg is the 30 year old American entrepreneur and computer programmer who, with four of his friends, founded Facebook from their Harvard University dormitory back in 2004. Who would have guessed that, scrolling forward 10 years, the social networking site they created for their mates to use is now one of the most used websites in the world and worth billions of US dollars? Not Mark Zuckerberg.
Nevertheless, Facebook is now practically ubiquitous and, whether you love it or hate it, it’s rapidly becoming impossible to ignore. As a Freelance SEO Consultant, Facebook is fundamental to what I do, whether that’s marketing myself, my work or my client’s websites, and ignoring it is simply not an option.
As this doesn’t look like a situation that will change any time soon, paying attention to what Mark Zuckerberg says is just good practice.
What Did He Say?
I’m not going to give you the full transcript of the video; if you’re interested then you really should watch the entire video but, if you want a good summary of the key points, then Matt Southern’s blog post does the trick. Having said that, I will just point out a couple of things that I think are relevant.
Zuckerberg began the session by explaining that Facebook usually hold a regular Q&A session with their employees, as a means of providing a forum where concerns could be raised or ideas shared, but had made the decision to take the session outside of the company so that they could give the users of Facebook a chance to do the same thing. I think that’s brilliant, although I must admit that I am a little bit gobsmacked that this is the first time they’ve done it in 10 years; given that Facebook is a site for sharing everything, surely a forum for physical sharing makes sense in addition to all the digital sharing? Maybe I’m just being old fashioned.
For the next hour, Zuckerberg answered questions about everything from the compulsory new Messenger app, Facebook’s declining reach, the changing landscape for businesses using Facebook and even his dress sense! The questions were varied and the session was, on the whole, much more interesting than I was expecting it to be.
How Did He Say It?
To his credit, Zuckerberg tackled every question head on, without shying away or deflecting and his answers were candid and interesting. To be honest, I think this is what saved it, as Zuckerberg himself is passably engaging and personable. As someone who is used to watching politicians lie and dissemble their way through interviews, it was refreshing to watch someone just answer questions honestly.
For example, when asked about the compulsory new Facebook Messenger app, Zuckerberg told his audience that 10 billion (yes, 10 billion!) messages are sent through Facebook every day and, with competition from sources such as Whatsapp and Messenger, Facebook took the decision that a specific messaging service was not only justified but essential. Nevertheless, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the transition across to the app could have been handled better and admitted that Facebook have learnt valuable lessons for the future.
His Dress Sense
Similarly, when asked about the fact that he seemingly wears the same t-shirt every day, Zuckerberg good humouredly owned up to having a load of t-shirts that are all the same and told his audience that “I don’t feel like I’m doing my job if I spend any of my time on anything silly or frivolous in my life”.
OK, so we already know that he’s the uber geek, but his goal of reducing the amount of inconsequential decisions he has to make in his life so that he can concentrate on important Facebook decisions does seem a little bit over the top, although I suppose that’s why people like Zuckerberg are multi-millionaires and people like me are Freelance SEO Copywriters!
The Overall Impression
All in all, I found myself quite invested in Zuckerberg by the end of the hour long session and it did go some way to de-mystifying some of the ludicrous claims and conspiracies that are often disseminated about him and his Facebook co-founders.
As I have already said though, given the way that Facebook and its counterparts operate, I firmly believe that Q&A Sessions such as this one should become normal practice. Even if the companies behind them don’t pay the slightest bit of attention to anything the public tell them, at least the illusion of it will help their public profile and encourage that sense of community sharing that they are supposedly all seeking.
What Do You Think?
If you’ve watched the video and have an opinion then please do get in touch and let me know; I’d love to hear your views, even if you just tell me I’m waffling rubbish!