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The Magical Tale of Facebook, Chairs and The Universe

April 29, 2018

What does chairs, bridges, doorbells, airplanes, games have to do with Facebook?

Fair question. The answer to which is fairly simple, once you look at the ad that Facebook released to celebrate its "1 billionth" user. Using chair as a metaphor they have tried to convey our need to connect with each other. Never in a million years I would have thought this about my chair. Chair connects human beings the ad says. So all these years I was connecting all the wrong things by sitting on it? Damn you Facebook you ruined my chair for me. This is Facebook's first ad, and they delivered a "chair"(here chair is a metaphor for garbage).

Where do I start. A chair in suspended animation, cuts to people sitting on it, cuts to more people sitting on it, with a nursery school teacher narrating to us kids why "C' is for "Chair" and "F" is for Facebook. The "These are the things that connects us" game is played throughout the ad. First the chair, then the dancefloor, basketball, a great nation and last but not the least "the universe". Facebook is about ubiquity and connecting people like chairs. This is the theme that runs behind the everyday objects we take for granted.

Mark Zuckererg talks about the thinking behind the first ever Facebook television commercial.

"Celebrating a billion people is very special to me. It’s a moment to honor the people we serve. For the first time in our history, we’ve made a brand video to express what our place is on this earth. We believe that the need to open up and connect is what makes us human. It’s what brings us together. It’s what brings meaning to our lives. Facebook isn’t the first thing people have made to help us connect. We belong to a rich tradition of people making things that bring us together. Today, we honor this tradition. We honor the humanity of the people we serve. We honor the everyday things people have always made to bring us together: Chairs, doorbells, airplanes, bridges, games. These are all things that connect us. And now Facebook is a part of this tradition of things that connect us too. I hope you enjoy this video as much as we do. Thanks for helping connect a billion people."

Nobody questions the ubiquity of Facebook, it has become for better or worse our online identity. What Facebook has achieved is unparalleled. Connecting a billion human beings on this planet, that is 1/7 of the whole world population. If Facebook was a nation it would be just behind India and China in terms of world population. That is a lot of people sharing cute cat videos and Gangnam style. Such a unique feat in human history is worth celebrating. But instead we got "chairs".


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