Mark Zuckerberg faced a lot of pressure after the release of The Social Network, when many facts about his mistakes in building Facebook emerged for all to see. He was understandably ill-at-ease, with anxiety lacing his voice.
But now, less than half a year later, he looks relaxed and calm, and even was a bit funny, when he appeared in front of the top Internet industry figures at San Francisco’s Web 2.0 Summit. He has grown up more than a little bit during this time.
Zuckerberg easily admits now that he certainly did make mistakes when he created Facebook, and in running it, as well. He even went so far as to say that if you could think of a mistake that could be made, that he’d made it. He was a little hard on himself at Web 2.0. And he said he’ll make mistakes headed into the future, too. But he realizes now that when you’re in charge of something that people love so much, mistakes are bound to happen.
Zuckerberg still has some of the straight posture emulated in The Social Network, but he certainly isn’t the same man who looked like a deer in the headlights mere months ago. He seems by now to have found his stride in the public, displaying more of the assurance he usually has in private dealings.
In the past, Internet experts have said that the Zuckerberg seen in public is indeed the same man he is in private, but he was never very comfortable in public. He acts more like his private self now in public, so it’s not a change in how he feels, but rather how he projects himself. He’s more comfortable with people now.
Facebook’s creator has been mentioned in the same breath with Steve Jobs, and he has been helped along by the chief operating officer of Facebook. He is becoming more open and less guarded in public, and that shines well for Facebook, too. His friends say he has simply learned to be himself.
The reach of Facebook is still extending outward, even as its creator finds his way. Almost one out of four page hits in the United States in a recent week were on Facebook pages, which is a phenomenal statistic.
When Zuckerberg was at the unveiling of the Facebook Message service recently, he talked more openly about his family a bit, and his girlfriend. He also mentioned that speaking with high school students makes him feel very old. And they influence him by how they feel that Facebook’s message service should work. He spoke thoughtfully and slowly, and made eye contact with members of the audience. He is more comfortable with people, and that’s a good thing, because his creation, Facebook, may have him in the spotlight more often.