But with respect to Zuck, you don't need very sophisticated arguments. The PR team's process is very simple and the article captures it well. It boils down to a mad lib style narrative that consists of: "<Demonstration that I am Smart><Lofty Mission><"We" do stuff (key item: "I"==vision for a better world, "We"==action)><Sorry><Not Sorry><Commitment/Point of Pride/Forward Looking Vision>"
End of the day, discerning readers spot nonsense speak, cynical readers perceive the opposite of whatever is being said/implied, and casual readers get a hit of positive perception that FB wants to project. Every company and every politician does it, but Zuckerberg's formula has a unique tone that stands out more.
Likewise Zuckerberg's goal is to simply appeal to care and the actual words that he uses (like any PR release) just need to check off a box of respect in some way. No more and no less.
Most fun part of the writing is when it's is mentioned that Zuckerberg studied and was a fan as a student at Harvard 'the classics'. Sure that which happened 15 years ago is enough to make you an expert in a way to actually effectively use that type of information.
This is true of the majority of articles on HN or any other social media site for that matter. It's called marketing.
He's talking about articles in editorial media that were pitched by publicists.
This is a content marketing article published by the company itself to promote themselves.
Also nobody on the planet calls stories with marketing value submarines, except the legions of HN posters compelled to post this link every day or two for some reason.
This seems like a silly argument even if the article in question is not actually a submarine.
I also don't understand the direct contradiction between the ideas between #1 and #2 in this article. How does this get past editing, like I'm supposed to forget you just told me in #1 that Zuckerberg shifts blame and then in #2 there's a highlighted quote where he accepts blame?
I hate Facebook either way, but Mark Zuckerberg has nothing to do with it. You're missing the boat if you equate Facebook and Zuckerberg and think that by attacking Mark Zuckerberg you're somehow fighting against the bad aspects of Facebook. Sure, Mark Zuckerberg embodies Facebook in many ways. But if he were to be ousted, I don't care if you brought Gandhi back from the dead and made him CEO of Facebook, Facebook will still be terrible. The platform and how people relate to other people on it will still be, net, detrimental to society.
Facebook rode that wave. So I don't think when it first became popular, I would put Zuckerberg at the center and say that he made the kool-aid.
It was more like hundreds of thousands of people were saying, "We want kool-aid, we want kool-aid." And Facebook said, sure, we can do that, at least better than Myspace.
It's possible to imagine a Facebook which stayed small scale, friends of friends, and served primarily as a photo-sharing/chat platform. Partly because of business pressure and partly because of Zuckerberg's vision they made this move to connect everyone. This is something they could do from a technical perspective, but they did not consider the societal consequences.
They try to play the neutral platform, just giving people a chance to "share ideas" but they pick what's shown and to who. Even if it's obfuscated by an algorithm that was trained on user-data, they're still choosing.
I think a lot of this stems from Zuckerberg's vision to "connect the world" without thinking through what that actually means, and what problems would come up.
Lots of people did not want their personal data sold, their private information compromised, their creepy exes given an easy way to stalk them, and general loss of ownership of their data and their online presence. But they got all those things anyway, because Zuckerberg built Facebook that way. He could have built it a different way. But he didn't.
That is the point of what Bashaw is saying. He's saying that Zuckerberg's writing is ineffective because in Orwell's phrase from Politics and the English Language:
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
The author doesn't seem to be saying you should ignore facebook's actions and listen to the words. The author seems to be saying that Zuckerberg is bad at PR. For that to be true, the actions of Zuckerberg and Facebook are implicitly in play. If Zuckerberg's PR is said to be insufficient, it's insufficient in the context of Zuckerberg's actions.
He’s simply disconnected from the world. Still stuck in 2007 with his goals for Facebook and how he wants it to change the world. It has changed the world, but a lot of of the change isn’t pretty.
What I actually look forward to reading after every Facebook crisis is the former Facebook employees on Twitter who rush to their defense every time.
This one made me lol irl:
A lot of people shrug at the idea of Facebook and Google vacuuming up all their data. They don’t think there’s anything about them and their data that’s all that interesting.
What do you call determining what appears in a feed? Even if they're using an algorithm trained on user data, they're still selecting who to highlight and what matters.
If my primary focus for the year was "get into shape", and then my house burns down, should my primary focus for the year not shift to "find a new home"?
Relevant quotes since it's behind the paywall:
> "To season himself, Mr. Zuckerberg in recent years has reached out to high-profile mentors like Mr. McNamee and Don Graham, CEO of the Washington Post Co. Last year, Facebook brought in trainers including Bill Clinton's former speaking coach to help the CEO improve his speaking style."
> "Mr. Zuckerberg sought seasoned help. He brought on Messrs. Yu and Palihapitiya. Michael Sheehan, a communications coach who has advised Mr. Clinton, came in to teach the CEO how to improve his wooden image, in part by coaching him in public speaking."
I also recall articles about Zuckerberg hiring personality coaches coming out after The Social Network (2010) was released. There has been some revisionist history on HN recently that claims Zuckerberg's PR problems only started in the aftermath of 2016, but he's been in the hot-seat for a bit over a decade now.