Doing an AboutFaceIt was through this eBusiness productivity craze that I first encountered the word, “facebook”. But it had no connection to Zuckerberg’s leviathan. As early as 2000, a company called AboutFace promoted an online “Employee Facebook” directory with the following tagline, “Foster community, and ensure security, within your organization with an online facebook”.
I discovered the AboutFace “facebook” while evaluating the latest selection of online directory tools for my employer. The immediate downside of AboutFace, though, was that it wasn’t free, a kiss of death in a world of no-cost competitors. The raison d'être for eBusiness was cutting expenses, not adding to them. So I didn’t spend much time with the AboutFace “facebook”, but the name lodged in my brain.
Meanwhile, as old-school executive types were learning to sound all eBusiness savvy about cost reduction, CyberPirates started disrupting corporate copyrights. A digital tsunami of personal BitTorrent servers made “sharing” the new rally cry of Netizen economics.
Although file sharing had been a staple of the Internet from the start, with services like Usenet and the playful Gopher I mentioned earlier, it was mostly hard core technical types who engaged in it. That situation quickly changed when simpler tools like Napster, Grokster and LimeWire granted file sharing to the masses with just a mouse click. Homegrown freebooters began to seriously undermine the copyright royalty income of media behemoths like Time Warner and Twentieth Century Fox by sharing their corporate “properties” for free on platforms such as Friendster, MySpace, and YouTube.