Facebook launched more than a new iPhone app this evening – they also have a new home page (the page you see when you aren’t logged in) and a new tagline. Gone is all the descriptive language suggesting you sign up to “Keep up with friends and family,” “Share photos and videos,” “Control privacy online,” and “Reconnect with old classmates.” Now Facebook has a simple message to entice you to sign up: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.”
They’ve also removed the language around being a social utility, although I suspect we haven’t heard the last of it. The old tagline was “Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you” and was used by Facebook customer service reps to claim Facebook wasn’t a social network and that people should use it primarily to connect with offline friends:
This means that we expect accounts to reflect mainly “real-world” contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly “internet-only” contacts. As stated on our home page, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a “social networking site”. It is meant to help reinforce pre-existing social connections, not build large groups of new ones.
Now Facebook says you can use it to connect with “people in your life,” which presumably includes online friends as well.
I bet the company spent countless hours debating that new tagline and whether it should say “people in your life” or “people around you.” This is the time in a startups growth period when most of the real entrepreneurial types either walk away or hide under their desk until they’re fully vested. Meetings like that just aren’t tolerable.