Why tech insiders must be on Facebook

I know a fair number of people who don’t use Facebook or don’t understand Facebook, and I think these people are hurting themselves, if they want to be part of tech as it goes forward, and in some sense they are hurting the web, by trying to be part of a network that does not involve Facebook.

This morning Scoble got on the case of Bijan Sabet, out of the blue, as he often does, with a rant about how Facebook is the best place to be. I love that about Scoble. He has strong opinions and states them with vigor. I felt sorry for Bijan, who is soft-spoken though powerful, a good listener and as much an influencer as Scoble.

I differ with Scoble on why you should be on Facebook, but not that you should be there.

Imagine being a music industry insider in the late 60s and not listening to the Beatles. Sgt Pepper just came out, you didn’t care for it. Too much like bubblegum. Not serious enough. I might as well listen to The Archies or The Turtles, you say. So you stop listening to the Beatles.

The problem is that the Beatles were clearly having a huge influence on music, and more than that, the culture around them. And that was just beginning. What was still to come: Magical Mystery Tour, Abbey Road, The White Album, Let It Be, Hey Jude. They had not yet written Mother Nature’s Son or My Guitar Gently Weeps.

If you want to be current with tech as it goes forward, you must be in the loop on what’s happening on Facebook, if only because every person you hope to sell technology to in the future is using it. They will judge everything in relation to what they have experienced on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if Zuck isn’t Paul McCartney or Lennon or Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, his product is that, and actually more.

I’ve been listening to interviews with John Lennon after the breakup of the Beatles, talking about how they were the biggest cultural phenomenon ever. Well that was true then, but they’ve been eclipsed by the combination of the iPhone and Facebook. They are even more influential culturally worldwide than the Beatles. When John Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus Christ he was right. And Facebook is more popular than the Beatles.

So someday, if you withdraw from Facebook, you will face a competitor who embraced it, and you will lose. That’s why you should be there.

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