HALF A BILLION FACES
- Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born 14 May 1984) is an American entrepreneur best known for co-founding the popular social networking site with a few classmates while attending Harvard as an undergraduate. As a young teenager Zuckerberg enjoyed developing computer programs, especially communica-tion tools and games, which eventually re-sulted in launching Facebook from his dorm room on 04 February 2004 when he was just 20-years old.
- It started off as just a “school-thing” that enables students within a university community setting to create personal profiles that include their contact information, class schedules, and a variety of other per-sonal details.
- This kind of online social networking was positive for young people in university communities because it helped them reach out to peers in a less intimidating way. Students who were more reserved about intro-ducing themselves to others in real life used it as a communication tool to break social boundaries, especially for help with school work. It kept on growing as an extension of real-life interaction, not as much as to meet random people, but to foster friendships and relationships with persons one may have known previously and also of bringing tan-gentially-connected people (i.e., friends of friends) together.
- Zuckerberg decided to spread Facebook to other schools and in May 2007, he launched Facebook Platform – a framework for software devel-opers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features by providing a set of APIs (or, application programming inter-faces) and tools enabling 3rd party developers to integrate with the “open graph” whether through applications on Facebook.com itself or though external websites and devices.
- Today, Facebook has over 400 million users worldwide. At least 500 million people visit the site each month and only giants like Google, Mi-crosoft and Yahoo each have more monthly visitors. But Facebook isn’t done growing yet. In a year’s time, some pundits predict, Facebook will likely be second on the list of unique visitors and in two years, they’ll probably be first.
- So why is Facebook so popular these days? Well for one, the Web before Facebook arrived on the scene was getting very messy. Face-book cleaned it up by providing a highly useable framework for de-velopers to create tools that work together seamlessly. The creation of these new tools is also tightly coupled with demand as more and more people around the world see the value in using them in some very creative and social ways.
- Sam Morgan (born 1975) is best known as the founder of TradeMe, a website where hundreds of thousands of Kiwis make their primary or secondary income using it. The business was founded by Morgan in 1999, one which he took very seriously by keep-ing its online marketplace running smoothly before selling it in 2006 to John Fairfax Holdings, an Australian media company.
- At that time, TradeMe was (and still is) the leading auctions and classified advertising site in New Zealand. It boas-ted of having 1.2 million members who were expected to host 35 million auctions in that year alone. It accounted for over 60% of New Zealand’s web traffic.
- TradeMe today is the established online leader in its key general merchandise auction business in New Zealand and has leading motors and property sites, in addition to operating sites for dating (Find Someone), a web community (Old Friends), and rental accommodation. With over 2.5-milion active members and between 40,000-50,000 peo-ple online at any time, the average number of people who visit TradeMe each day runs to about 600,000.
- Morgan, the young man who imagined how he could provide a way for people to make a living and still run it as a business, is now an investor and advisor to a number of start-up businesses. He is also involved with several nonprofit organisations including Medicine Mondiale and One Acre Fund.
HARNESSING IMAGINATION FOR GOOD
More than having any real knowledge to boast of when just starting out in their early careers, each of this five role models we’ve cited point to ordinary people who used only their imagination to build something extraordinary which many of us today can do without.
Each of their contributions have increased connect-ivity among people – ones which in turn have built communities who now collectively express their cultural, social, and organ-isational capacities in ways that assure their survival whilst contributing to more economic activity and growth.
That more Internet resources and more effective practices are evolving rapidly and are systematically being shared between individuals, communities and cultures proves them to be continually leapfrogging ahead.
That inclusion of younger members of society, with their fascinating ideas in tow, can become a new source of energy we could all benefit from, is now undeniable. It is a serious thought that we, the older and more established generation, should consciously promote and continually support at every point of opportunity we find. We must now realise that the social challenges of dealing with accelerating change are greater than the technological challenges because of this new and sustainable source of energy. What’s more, we are discovering that we can learn more together rather than separately.
FOCUSED FUNDING SUPPORT STRATEGY
Those of us with responsibilities devoted to holding pools of funding resources at all levels – national and local government funding agencies, quasi-government community development organisa-tions, private grant-funding charitable foundations and trusts, now have a clear basis to employ these financial resources to purposes that focus on fost-ering development of community technology cen-tres or clusters within local communities around New Zealand where young individuals can unleash the power of their imagination to create value and share the benefits to those in society who need and use it.
What we, as a human family now face, is a new gold rush where mining raw human potential fueled with imagination through creative use of the Internet and the Web will become an economic development strategy our country can depend upon in the future.