Being Inspired by Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is an inspiration. It's not simply because he made lots of money, but how he created something extraordinary by being different.

Even I occasionally need to be reminded that miracles are created by people who do not just follow the status quo. The only way to create something new is to surprise people.

Zuckerberg was one of the many tech entrepreneurs to drop out of college. This move is not a prerequisite to success. I comfortably graduated from my business degree after four and a half years. The lesson, from the father of Facebook, is that there is more to life than the classroom.

Please understand before I appear massively hypocritical. I am currently a postgraduate student. I love it. But it is not my whole world. It is a small slice out of a complete balanced life. Zuckerberg learned important lessons at Harvard. And it created crucial connections in social circles which contributed to Facebook. But he took down time, away from the classroom, to create Facebook in his spare time. That's balance.

This king of the internet actually still reads books. He's going through a new one every two weeks. There's a Facebook page for it (naturally). It's called A Year of Books. 388 000 people like the page. Beyond PR interactivity, what does this tell us about web gurus? They switch off too.

I must admit a slight addiction to all things social media and short articles. My Macbook only leaves my side for very formal dinners, where I would look funny lugging it around. As a journalism major, I'm actually doing a degree on how to write really short articles. We don't really cover novels and memoirs. It's beautiful. But there is more to the artistic world.

I have only progressed through two chapters of Lena Dunham's book, Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's Learned. Perhaps I would learn a thing or two if I detached from the blogosphere for a few minutes, and picked up some good old fashioned paper.

Let's get back to Mark Zuckerberg. So MZ likes reading, and so should we. What else shall we learn from the most virtually social person in the world? It's more than personal development. Serious career wisdom can be passed on from this multi billionaire.

He gets into people's heads. Yes, we have all heard about the research capabilities of Facebook. I am actually a strong supporter of this (we hang over our personal lives on a silver platter but let's continue that conversation another day). Zuckerberg was actually in people's heads long before applying analytics to masses of millions.

The New York Magazine says Facebook was not the first social network. Its differentiation was from being "cool and easy." People want cool and easy. Every product operates the same way. Have you ever struggled with those televisions which have stacks of HDMIs besides a few AVs and multiple wi-fi-s? It's not the same as the old fashioned on-off functionality. People want their lives to be as simple as possible.

I still remember MySpace. There's actually a Melanie Suzanne Wilson page on MySpace somewhere. What I do recall is the amount of coding and customisation the average user needed. Could you imagine a 16 year old, or a 60 year old, feeling comfortable with this artistry? Facebook is easy. Write status. Click post. Take photo. Click post. It's not rocket surgery.

Yet social media has proliferated in recent years. It's similar to when TV started as 3 commercial channels and the ABC, then suddenly there were hundreds of cable channels and online streaming things (can you tell I don't really watch TV?). I have been doing commercial social media work for at least the past 2 and a half odd years, and done non-profit work in social media for 3 years. One trend recurs with everyone: they don't want it to take brain power or precious minutes. We're too busy living life. My purpose in life is to make communication easy for people.

It's second nature to me. Say I'm hanging with a mate. I'll take a photo. The photo is edited on the phone. It's edited further in Instagram, and added to a written post. The written post includes hash tags, which contribute to a trending conversation. The post is published on Instagram. The Instagrammed post is shared by forwarding to Tumblr for blog audiences, Flickr for Yahoo images, Twitter for the news world, and Facebook for friends. That's just for a hangout. Don't get me started on the fun I have for proper planned published pages.

That's a hand full, isn't it? That's why I do it for people, so they don't have to bother. Mark Zuckerberg made Facebook a one-stop-shop, or a serve yourself kiosk of publishing goodness. He contributed towards a social media scene where serious publicists can publicise, without having to code IT jargon. It's revolutionary. It's easy and complicated, all at the same time.  

Zuckerberg is a personal and professional role model to online creatives everywhere. His life reminds us to have enough life balance to get creative, read paper as much as screens, get into people's heads, and keep things simple and easy. These are just some of the many lessons learned from this genius in jeans. MZ, we look forward to seeing what you come up with next.



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