Costa Rica Learns to Facebook

July 9, 2010

 

Dave Morin envisions a future in which cars will be geared up to tell you what music friends are listening to and if friends are driving nearby. A guy at a bar will know if the woman sitting two tables away shares as much as 90 percent of common tastes in everything that matters – or just 2 percent.
He says it’ll all be possible thanks to the online social networking giant Facebook, and that the future is almost here.
Speaking at the Summit of the Future at Costa Rica’s Real InterContinental Hotel, Morin recounted the story of Facebook, where he worked until leaving earlier this year to create a startup of his own.
“The Web is not about information,” he said, taking a quiet jab at the network’s rival, Google, which prides itself on supreme organization of information. “The argument we tried to make at Facebook is that the Web is about people.”
Morin detailed Facebook’s transformation from its origins in 2004 as a virtual dorm room for college friends to a massive cyber landscape used by people from all walks of life around the globe. He was manager of Facebook Platform, a program that has enabled companies, from major news network CNN to beverage-maker and sports sponsor Red Bull, to integrate Facebook, accessing its millions of users.
Facebook has more than 400 million active users, all sharing information, photos, videos, personal updates, sometimes organizing parties or huge protests. Costa Rica experienced Facebook’s protest pull-factor in February 2008 when residents were summoned through Facebook to join a multi-city march organized by Colombians against a drug-running rebel group called the FARC (TT, Feb. 8, 2008).
Morin spoke in detail about the “social graph,” a coveted cross-section of the world that companies like Facebook have tried to harness for years, noting that Facebook has had a viral reaction across the graph. “Facebook’s mission is to map out the entire social graph of the entire world,” he said. Businesses, he said, are realizing the platform’s potential, launching company pages, groups, events, even video games within the network site’s framework.
After the summit, Arturo Garro, a 40-year-old Costa Rican frequent social media user who writes the blog Asi como lo oye (asicomolooye.ticoblogger.com), said the event was engrossing.
“The talk in the morning on Twitter was very interesting, very illustrative,” he said. And on Morin’s talk in the afternoon, he said, “all the future developments – in television, cars, picking up girls – that’s what really called my attention.”
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