Facebook Back in the Young Folks’ Good Graces


facebook_small.jpgADOTAS – As more and more giant posters with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s doppelganger (Jesse Eisenberg) stared down at me from every location imaginable in New York — seriously, I turned the corner from my apartment one September morning and nearly screamed as three sets of those creepy eyes were glaring at me, begging me to share more personal data — I excitedly pondered what Facebook users’ reaction to the reportedly scathing “The Social Network” would be.

Facebook was already suffering a media tongue-lashing — with Zuck receiving the brunt — for its latest round of advertiser-friendly, who-cares-about-users? privacy policy changes when Aaron Sorkin’s script was leaked, and a campaign for a mass Facebook exodus garnered 35,000 walkouts. Zuck was mired in an IM scandal and didn’t do himself any favors with awkward public appearances.

However, as the movie opened in theaters nationwide, I found myself agreeing with Fortune’s Jessi Hempel that despite the negative portrayal of Zuck, the movie is a two-hour advertisement for Facebook and would only raise the site’s public stock (opinion, not financial as an IPO date remains elusive).

The first poll of Facebook users’ opinions on Facebook post-“Social Network” sort of vindicates Hempel. YouGov BrandIndex, which interviews 5,000 people every weekday regarding their feelings on various brands, reports that the social network’s impression score for 18-34 year olds (ranging from -100 to 100) has risen from 46.4 on Oct. 1 (the film’s opening day) to 51.5 on Oct. 6. Interestingly, that age group’s impression score jumped 23.5 two weeks before the film’s release to 46.4 on opening day.

Love the site, hate the site creator? Perhaps sympathize with him? Whatever the reason, it’s great news for advertisers as Facebook has regained the good graces of its core user base.

Over the same time period, adults 35 to 59 have stayed in the 30-40 zone, while those over 50 have fluctuated between 15 and 25 — their opinions have pretty much stayed the same.

Zuck has made some character rehabilitation moves of late, including donating a $100 million to start up an education-focused charity. In addition, Facebook introduced a bunch of site updates, including a revamped groups function and more control over shared data through Facebook Connect, that are actually pretty user-friendly.

Perhaps Facebook is coming into another Golden Age now that all the nasty stuff is way out in the open. Perhaps Zuck has learned from the foibles of his youth. It’s great timing for a public change of heart as the media has been silent regarding potential heirs to the social network throne such as Google Me or Diaspora.

Of course a Golden Ages in the social mediascape lasts, what? Six months? Less?


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