Making friends with Facebook

Ah, Facebook. Possibly the most hated of the social networks, in terms of its insidiousness and ubiquity. People can opt in or out of Twitter, but in the 21st century, for people of a certain age (and those above it), it seems as essential to have a Facebook account as it is to have an email address. I have friends who have deleted their Facebook accounts out of fear of lack of privacy, or simply because it was reducing the quality of ‘real-life’ friendship. [Such a description makes it appear that online relationships aren’t real. I disagree with such a view.]

Being the ‘social media queen’ that I am (someone else’s words, not mine), I obviously have not relinquished my account. I may post there less now that I’ve embraced Twitter with open arms (I really should remember to copy some of my tweets over once in a while), but it’s still the main way in which I keep track of many of my friends and it’s kept many a friendship alive that may otherwise have fallen by the way side. Thus, I was obviously just a little excited to receive a text from some friends I was due to visit in California, informing me that we had dinner plans at the Facebook offices.

Facebook. For dinner. The place where Zuckerberg works. The company immortalised in The Social Network. The network whose app features on practically every smart phone. Facebook.

1 Hacker WayFacebook offices, 1 Hacker Way

I was incredibly lucky – my friends, the fabulous Chan-Fam, had a close friend who works there and who hosted us for the evening. I’m indebted both to him and to SiNing for organising it in the first place – it is already a highlight of a trip that’s barely half-over. From the moment I inputted my details into an iPad Facebook app in the front lobby, to the moment we left, my eyes were as wide as saucers. I was one happy geek!

Facebook Pass Got to be said, I was loath to give this up at the end.

In short, the Facebook complex is like a mini town. There are several buildings, all arranged around what looks like a main street – complete with a open square in the centre. In common with many of the tech companies in Silicon Valley, Facebook provides its employees with a lot – free breakfast, lunch and dinner; gym facilities; hairdresser vans and masseuses that visit regularly; bikes to travel around the campus on; kitchens crammed full of goodies in every office block; numerous free beverage vending machines; bathrooms with endless supplies; and even a movie night in their ‘town square’, complete with nachos and popcorn…

Facebook vending machine You’ve got to love a branded vending machine…

Facebook town square Gearing up to show the Avengers.

Bathroom suppliesOk, yes, I took photos in the bathroom. Those are toothpaste-loaded toothbrushes…

Micro KitchenMicro-kitchens. I was invited to pick out something – so I had a package of ‘Facebook Twizzlers’. 

The offices themselves are, in some ways, just like any other open-plan office – except that in many ways, they’re not like any open-plan office I’ve ever worked in! There are breakout areas and meeting rooms, but with added artwork and graffiti walls. There’s an entire room that seems to be dedicated to playing computer games. There are vending machines that sell computer paraphernalia. And, there was plenty of publicity around that plugged Facebook’s ‘Women in Timeline’ campaign, highlighting significant women in history.

Facebook Offices

Facebook Art

Facebook vending

Facebook humour

I confess, I did leave the offices wondering whether I could get a job there. Perhaps they might need a chaplain? Safe to say, I could’ve spent a whole day exploring and chatting to (not un-cute) geeks. So, next time Facebook changes something in a way you don’t like, this is where those annoying geeks are based…

Oh, and talking of geeks, next time you’re using a Google product, imagine people eating their lunch here:

Google offices

And when you’re using one of your Apple devices, the thinking behind it happened here:

Apple HQ

Oh, and this happened…

Eating the Apple

Ah, the simple pleasures of being a geek. As a bonus, I get a second bite of the apple (ba-dum-tsch) next week, when I go to an actual meeting at the Apple offices. Who knows, I may even treat myself to an iPad at the Apple Company store…

Oh, and if you want to put in an order for one of these classic t-shirts available there, let me know.

Apple Tees

Comments

  1. Awesome!!

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