When users revolted against a Facebook redesign in 2006, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a post in response titled "Calm down. Breathe. We hear you." In it, Zuck came off defensive and condescending. "We're not oblivious of the Facebook groups popping up about this (by the way, Ruchi is not the devil)," he wrote. Now, Zuckerberg's written another post defending the site's latest redesign, which more users — though a far smaller percentage of them — also don't like. It's titled "Thoughts on the Evolution of Facebook." It reads like the inoffensive pablum you'd read on, say, the Official Google Blog. Why is that?No surprise there: Besides top flack Elliot Schrage, Facebook has hired at least three PR people from Google in recent months — Debbie Frost, Barry Schnitt, and Larry Yu. Zuckerberg's preprocessed blog post predictably mentions "Facebook's mission," which Zuck tells us "is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." That sounds exactly like the talking points Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — also an ex-Googler, trained in the delivery of political messages from her time in the Clinton White House. For his investors, an uncontroversial Zuckerberg is a profitable Zuckerberg. If he's to stay CEO through an IPO and beyond, he'll have to practice putting shareholders and analysts to sleep with similar language. We sure will miss the clumsy honesty of Zuck's original post, though. Compare the old versus the new, below. Mark Zuckerberg before the Googlers came — defensive, condescending and honest:
Calm down. Breathe. We hear you. We've been getting a lot of feedback about Mini-Feed and News Feed. We think they are great products, but we know that many of you are not immediate fans, and have found them overwhelming and cluttered. Other people are concerned that non-friends can see too much about them. We are listening to all your suggestions about how to improve the product; it's brand new and still evolving. We're not oblivious of the Facebook groups popping up about this (by the way, Ruchi is not the devil). And we agree, stalking isn't cool; but being able to know what's going on in your friends' lives is. This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about. You don't miss the photo album about your friend's trip to Nepal. Maybe if your friends are all going to a party, you want to know so you can go too. Facebook is about real connections to actual friends, so the stories coming in are of interest to the people receiving them, since they are significant to the person creating them. We didn't take away any privacy options. [Your privacy options remain the same.] The privacy rules haven't changed. None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn't see it before the changes. If you turned off your wall to non-friends, no one who is not your friend will be able to see a post on your wall. Your friends can still see it; it hasn't changed. Secret groups and secret events remain secret from other people. Pokes and messages remain as private interactions. Nothing you do is being broadcast; rather, it is being shared with people who care about what you do—your friends. We're going to continue to improve Facebook, and we want you to be part of that process. Test out the products and continue to provide us feedback. Use your privacy settings so you can feel most comfortable using the site. We hear you, and we appreciate the feedback. Stay tuned... Mark
Mark Zuckerberg after getting Googled — polite, empathetic and dull:
Thoughts on the Evolution of Facebook After months of hard work, we're at a point where almost all 100 million people around the world on Facebook are using the new design. As we continue to roll this out, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what we've built and why I think it's an important step for us. Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. In the last four years, we've built new products that help people share more, such as photos, videos, groups, events, Wall posts, status updates and so on. As people share more, sometimes we need to change the site to accommodate how much information people are posting. Back in 2006 we launched News Feed, which brought all of the most recent and interesting activity from the people you care about right to your home page. Similarly, the new Facebook design replaces all the big boxes on profiles and brings all of your friends' most recent and interesting activity to front and center. We realize that change can be difficult though. Many people disliked News Feed at first because it changed their home page and how they shared information. Now it's one of the most important parts of Facebook. We think the new design can have the same effect. With this release, we've worked harder to get more feedback about what we can improve. Starting in March, we created a Page where we gave updates on the changes we were considering and more than 150,000 people joined and participated. We also wanted to give people a chance to try out the new design before launching it for everyone. More than 40 million people tried it out and 30 million continued using it. It's tempting to say that we should just support both designs, but this isn't as simple as it sounds. Supporting two versions is a huge amount of work for our small team, and it would mean that going forward we would have to build everything twice. If we did that then neither version would get our full attention. That said, Facebook is a work in progress. We constantly try to improve things and we understand that our work isn't perfect. We appreciate the thousands of you who have written in to give us feedback. Even if you're joining a group to express things you don't like about the new design, you're giving us important feedback and you're sharing your voice, which is what Facebook is all about. Thanks for all of your support as we work together to make Facebook better and give everyone around the world a new way to connect and share. The active community on Facebook makes it possible for us to build new things and make them great, and that is why Facebook has been successful so far.