Every month, I write a column about social media for the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly–and every December, I have a little fun, Here’s this year’s holiday column.
WITH APOLOGIES TO CHARLES DICKENS, MARK ZUCKERBERG, AND MYSPACE TOM
MySpace was dead to begin with. There was no doubt whatsoever about that. The register of its burial was signed the minute Murdoch invested his millions. Of course, Zuck helped sign it, too; Zuck’s could seal anyone’s fate. Yes, old MySpace was as dead as a door-nail.
To be clear, Zuck dismissed MySpace entirely. It was still there, of course, where it had always been—MySpace.com. Oh! But Facebook was so much more successful than MySpace. A billion users! Billions in ad revenue! Its own movie! Zuck carried that knowledge with him always, tucked away in the pouch of his ever-present hoodie. Facebook was entirely unlike MySpace, he knew that for sure.
One night—Christmas Eve—Zuck sat busy in his office. It was another stormy day on Wall Street, and he could almost hear the investors shaking their fists and stamping their feet. Zuck’s Facebook news feed was open so he might keep his eye upon his staff to catch them if they were talking to anyone from Google, Amazon, or Apple.
“A merry Christmas, Zuck!” posted one of his “friends”—Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn. He popped up so quickly that Zuck almost poked someone.
“Bah!” posted Zuck, “Humbug! It’s easy for you to say ‘Merry Christmas’ given your stock performance!”
“What right have you to be dismal?” Weiner replied. “You’re rich enough.”
Zuck having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, typed “Bah!” again; and followed it up with “Dislike!”
Zuck logged off in a huff. Having read Mashable and spent the rest of the evening sneering at E*Trade, he headed home. He lived in the same community that had once belonged to Tom Anderson, founder of MySpace. Today, however, it seemed as if nobody lived in it but Zuck, given his stature.
When Zuck arrived at his house, it was foggy and dark. He gazed into the same tempered glass window he had seen, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place. Let it also be borne in mind that Zuck had not bestowed one thought on MySpace since his last fleeting thought of his predecessor that afternoon. How can it be explained, then, that Zuck—his fingerprint ready to be swiped to unlock his door—saw in the window not his own, but MySpace Tom’s face.
“Humbug!” said Zuck.
He swiped his finger, walked upstairs, and fired up his Kindle. A few minutes later, though, without warning, his front door flew open and he heard a noise on the floor below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.
“It’s humbug still!” said Zuck. “I won’t believe it.”
His color changed though, when, he looked up and saw the very same face. MySpace Tom in a T-shirt standing in front of a whiteboard!
“What do you want with me?”
“Much!”—MySpace Tom’s voice, no doubt about it.
“Who are you?”
“Ask me who I was.”
“Who were you then?” said Zuck, raising his voice.
“I once was as you are now,” said MySpace Tom. “I am here tonight to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Zuckerberg.”
“I—I think I’d rather not,” said Zuck.
“Fair enough. But otherwise you cannot hope to shun the path I tread,” said MySpace Tom.
“Go on,” said Zuck.
“I’ll be quick. I can only speak so long before I reach the maximum number of characters. First, you must stop adding features, or you will be haunted by a spirit called the Feature Creep. He hastened my demise and would yours as well.”
“OK, OK,” said Zuck.
“There’s more,” MySpace Tom continued. “Enough with the ads. It didn’t bother people when they were tucked off to the side, but now that they’re in the news feed, everyone’s complaining…”
“But what about the shareholders?”
“SILENCE!” bellowed MySpace Tom. “Shareholders? Do you think Pinterest cares about shareholders? Do you think Twitter cares about shareholders? Do you think LinkedIn cares about shareholders? OK…bad example. But you get the idea. I have to add one last thing, something that will surely be your downfall.”
“What’s that?” Zuck stammered.
“Promoted posts? Really?”
“Yeah, that’s probably a bad idea.”
“You’re learning already,” MySpace Tom chuckled. “So, do you think you’re ready to heed my advice? Are you ready to avoid my fate?”
“I will!” Zuck repeated. “Oh MySpace Tom! Yes, I will!”
MySpace Tom disappeared. Zuck was so drained that he fell asleep right there at his desk. Later, when he awoke, he immediately dashed over to his laptop.
“It’s still here!” cried Zuck, as he logged on to Facebook. “It’s not the end. All billion profiles are still here–mine is here—the shadows of the things that would have been, may be dispelled. They will be! I know they will.”
This, of course, is fiction. As we head into the New Year, however, there’s something to be learned from it: we all can heed the lessons of the past and use them to make the world a better place. So, to you and yours, Happy Holidays. May the New Year bring only fond memories of the spirits of the past and new blessings for all of us, every one.