Going Mobile, and Stable

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Going Mobile, and Stable
| Published May 5, 2014 |

By Thursday Review staff

To paraphrase The Who, the world is going mobile fast. If you doubt that, just check out this telling statistic: at a May 1 conference in San Francisco, a huge meeting with over a thousand developers and programmers from nearly every country where there are apps being developed, Facebook’s CEO spoke for just under 20 minutes, during which time he used the word mobile 18 times.

What does it mean when the founder of the world’s largest social media empire uses the word mobile roughly once every 60 seconds? It means hang on to your hats and your smartphones—things could get bumpy.

Facebook has been aggressively looking for ways to expand and diversify its already wide revenue stream. Zuckerberg and his team hope that by opening up the floodgates on mobility applications, and by encouraging app developers to turn their creative attention toward mobile users and those smartphone preferences, a new river of activity (meaning: cash) will flow, especially from advertisers seeking to reach those millions of people who now spend huge amounts of time interacting socially using their handheld devices. Mobile activities, which now comprise about half of Facebook’s total revenue, are widely expected to continue to grow exponentially in the next few years.

At the conference in San Francisco, Zuckerberg also addressed the swelling concerns over privacy. Facebook will soon allow users to log in to apps anonymously—meaning without having to go through Facebook’s portal first. Much of this change came as technology firms assess and react to new challenges in the post-Edward Snowden era, and in the face of concerns about spying by the U.S. National Security Agency. Facebook will also open up a more flexible procedure for field-testing and reviewing apps, giving users better options for declining requests for personal information.

Facebook has also officially—more-or-less—dropped its famous internal motivational mantra, move fast and break things. Apparently breaking things turned out to be the more operative word in the phrase, especially as hundreds of app developers cited Facebook as being at the top of the list of technologies and platforms with developmental and adaptation problems. Zuckerberg has tweaked the slogan to the less zippy, less pithy move fast with stable infra. A bit cumbersome off the tongue, perhaps, but a mantra in keeping with a company now in its tenth year. Toddlers break things; ten years olds and pre-teens are expected to be responsible with the toys.

Related Thursday Review articles:

A Change for Facebook Messenger; Thursday Review; April 12, 2014.