Bah Humbug Mr. Zuckerberg!

Bah Humbug Mr. Zuckerberg!

December 12, 2010

Dear Mr. Zuckerburg,

Do you mind if I call you Mark?  I feel a bit strange calling you “Mister” since you are half my age. I finally had a chance to go online and watch your interview on 60 Minutes that aired last Sunday night and all I can say is WOW!

Facebook has a vast number of employees.

You’ve got 500 engineers working for you!  That’s incredible!  I had no idea that you had so much brain power harnessed in one place that you had to expand to an hangar to house it all. It is easy to see why so many people want to work for you at Facebook. It’s got to be a lot of fun! I couldn’t help but notice the young woman skateboarding through the hangar during one of the 60 Minutes segments.  How awesome is that?

It was interesting to learn of the competitive nature in which ideas are hatched or should I say “hacked” as you warmly call it.  Hackathons! What a great way to motivate your employees.  Add the opportunity to play a few games of Speed Chess, the indoor skatepark, and a ginormous salary and you could draw just about anyone from Google. It won’t be long before Serbey and Larry will be walking in the door to join you and the rest of their former employees.

Now that you’ve got all that talent contained in one or two hangars, it’s obvious that countless hours are spent creating incredible ways to keep all of us connected out here in cyberspace and keep us building social networks with friends and family.  I can hardly wait for the day that you get it all together and I can be socially networked to my toilet paper manufacturer and the companies who manufacture cheese balls and fruit cakes during the holidays.

One thing that continues to strike me as odd is that despite the fact that hundreds of people are on your payroll, you don’t seem to have a customer service department.  Does it seem the least bit ironic to you that the very place where you would have us come and create social relationships would be the very place where we can’t get any type of human interaction when we need help?  Is the purpose of a relationship only to ensure that a good time is had by all?  Are we not called to reach out and help one another and work together to to make this world a better place?

I think you know we need to help others.  Isn’t that why you just took the Giving Pledge?  You have pledged to give away half of your fortune to charity.  That’s quite a commitment.  Of course, if you wait until after your death to give it out, that’s not quite the same level of sacrifice as it would be for you to hand it out next week.  The idea of giving away half of $6.9 billion is hard to wrap my mind around, but it’s even harder for me to imagine having the other half of $6.9 billion to spend.  I just don’t think I need that much stuff.

Do you know, Mark, that while you are making this commitment, on the world’s stage, to give to others less fortunate, that you are also, at the very same time, crippling the social network of a small nonprofit charity which supports our deployed military?  The error, your error, has caused a complete halt in the way Military Missions, Inc. operates and motivates OUR social network.

We have followed your rules and submitted our report to your Help Center, notifying Facebook that our page has been shut down.  We have done this numerous times a day.  For the first two weeks, our submittal was always greeted with the same automated reply within a few seconds. For the past three days, we haven’t even gotten an automated reply.

Because you are more interested in Hackathons and signing attention-getting pledges, you have failed to make sure that you have your priorities in order.  Your priority should be to focus on those who use your social network and allow you to be $6.9 billion richer than the rest of us.

Someone who works for you has pulled the plug on our Facebook business page.  We have made repeated attempts for two weeks to get this issue resolved.  We had planned to send out 3000 packages to our deployed soldiers for Christmas this year, but it looks like only 2000 will get a box on December 25th.

Did I mention that we sacrificed donation money to print 3000 letters to be included in the care packages which direct the troops to come to our Facebook page, just a teensy part of your Facebook Empire?  We happen to be the social network which links the grateful Americans to those heroes who defend our freedoms.  Our main communication tool, the one for which we just restructured our entire social network, has let us down.  Yes, Mark, it is you who has taken Santa out of our soldier’s Christmas this year.  Why you?  Because you are the guy in charge.  Because you have the power to make a difference.

No telling how many troops who would have received a Christmas care package from us will likely spend Christmas without any encouragement from home.  These brave troops are standing in the gap for your freedom, Mark.  They are serving in harm’s way so you can live in a nation where it’s possible for a 26 year old man to become a billionaire.

Mark, what is your real purpose in striving to make Facebook such a popular social network tool?  Are you really just trying to provide a place where we can all feel at home and find cause to celebrate our birthdays with 525 of our closest friends?  Or, is it possible that you have been stealing all the brain power from Google so you can take over the entire World Wide Web as was suggested by Lesley Stahl during the 60 Minutes interview?

What are you going to do with all of your Facebookites after you have finally drawn all of us in?  At some point, you are going to have to consider the fact that we aren’t going to stick around very long if you don’t make yourself more approachable.  Those who have the privilege of being on the inside playing Speed Chess and pulling the all nighters to be a part of the Hackathons might be having fun now, but how much fun will it be for them when we all go find another social network, one that cares enough to have a customer support system in place?

I’m pretty sure that the advertisers who pay your salaries will follow us because we are the ones whom they really seek.  They need us to buy their stuff.  The advertisers will follow us to the social network with the customer service department, and soon enough your massive hangars will be empty and the brain power you stole from Google will be stolen from under your nose too.  I am suddenly reminded of the loneliness felt by Ebenezer Scrooge as he sat alone counting his gold coins.

We aren’t going to put up with the fact that you won’t take our calls.  We aren’t going to put up with the fact that you won’t answer our emails.  If you aren’t going to offer any customer support, then the least you can do is be honest.  Delete your Help Center and tell us that we are out here on our own.

The customer always comes first, Mark.  If you don’t keep us happy, we will find another place to network with our extended family.  You are the one who introduced us to this amazing revelation and now we just can’t get enough of being poked by the Tidy-Bowl man, Mr. Clean, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

I’m still willing to accept your apology with full restitution of our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MilitaryMissionsInc, but I’m not going to wait much longer.  We can Tweet, Digg, Tumble, and Flickr just as easily as we can LIKE the world on Facebook.

Bah Humbug, Mr. Zuckerberg!

Originally published by the author at open.salon.com. 

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