The Financial Times ran a lengthy article on him last weekend (Dec 4-5, 2010), detailing his evolution into 'serious' chief executive, one who is out to change how business is done all across the globe. The article's author focused on a new feature at Facebook, called Facebook Deal, whereby the user "checks in" to his/her favorite haunt (local shop), and that shop provides a discount to the Facebook user, in the hope that the discount will entice the person to buy more. For example, The Gap gave away 10,000 pairs of jeans to the first 10,000 Facebook users who "checked in" at Gap stores. Think of the possibilities: stores now have direct access to the customer while the customer is actually IN the store! Coupons, promotions, individualized attention, etc. As one consultant said to the FT author, "He just changed how local commerce works." And that was before lunch!
I have to wonder how and when Facebook will truly impact education. To be sure, our students use Facebook with ever-increasing regularity, and there can be instances of cyber-bullying and the like. What I'm talking about, though, is the delivery of educational content, educational choice, and the like. What if Zuckerberg were to take Facebook Deal to the level of impacting education? Same concept: "check in" as part of an admission tour at an independent school you might consider attending. By checking in, the school can "give" the student some promotional material, and determine what kinds of courses the student might be interested in, etc. I'm sure that admission departments could find myriad uses for a Facebook Deal.