I know the Facebook IPO disappointed a lot of people and when your first week as a public company is the worst of any company in the past 10 years, that is bound to happen.
This story has been dominating the news, but for me, all the data that came out about the scale of the Facebook network and the level of engagement we see in the majority of users on the platform suggests something different about the value that Facebook has created: They have made the world a more tolerant place and for this, Mark Zuckerberg should win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Facebook’s mission is “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Look at the list of past winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and read the citations that describe why they have been honored, words like connecting society, aiding in communication, fighting isolationism, strengthening co-operation, raising awareness are repeated over and over.
I am sure there are a ton of examples, and there will be many more as tangible as the evolution of thought on gay marriage in US politics.
We should all thank Mark Zuckerberg for the recent shift around gay marriage in the United States. President Obama was able to stand up in front of the world and openly support equal rights for all US citizens because of Facebook. Zuckerberg has decreased the degrees of separation in our society from 6 to 4.74, and this new social proximity reduces bigotry.
Instead of one gay uncle, now we all have 100 gay friends — and when you get closer to more people who are different from you, the similarities that draw you together naturally overshadow the differences that might push you apart and this moment of tolerance leads to understanding, appreciation and is the key to unlocking the tremendous value of diversity in our society. Moments like this will be Zuckerberg’s legacy and while the network keeps growing, with 20% of the global population already engaged, I don’t think the Nobel Laureate would be premature.