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Why Facebook Is King

After seeing “The Social Network” this weekend, I was struck by how another successful business rose to the top by using a simple marketing concept. Mark Zuckerberg expanded Facebook with a tactic mentioned in class to increase the number of a dentist’s clients. How did Zuckerberg distinguish and then build the world’s largest social network? Exclusivity.

Sure, Facebook has a cleaner interface than Friendster and MySpace, which were already big names when Facebook started. But how does one compete with them? Zuckerberg simply differed how his social networking site spread — using exclusivity — to make Facebook surpass Friendster and MySpace in size.

Exclusivity allowed Facebook to spread like wildfire because of ego. Not only does being surrounded by techno-savvy friends make college campuses the perfect setups to make websites go viral, but campuses are also where students pride themselves on the prestige of where they are, as the original Harvard Connection website concept supported.

Malcolm Gladwell’s idea about the perfect spaghetti sauce also suggested the idea of ego in marketing success. It may not just be that we aren’t in tune with what we really want, but that our egos tell us we want what we think we should want — what will make us look better to others regardless of what kind of coffee is really in the cup we just bought. When all options will make us look equally good in our minds, we go with a more specific choice — or identity — for happiness. Why would we define ourselves as just lovers of spaghetti sauce when we can identify with something even more specific to distinguish ourselves: extra chunky spaghetti sauce? Along the same lines, Zuckerberg used the power of ego — students’ need to identify with their colleges — to lay the foundation for Facebook.

Find out how Facebook spread »

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