While Mark Zuckerberg's interview at the recent D8 Conference was less than stellar, more attention has been given to an insignia covertly hidden on the inside of his signature hoodie, than to his painstaking nervous responses.
Kara Swisher & Mark ZuckerbergFeeling the heat in the room, literally and figuratively, the "insignia reveal" would have never seen the light of day had not 'All Things Digital' Kara Swisher suggested Zuckerberg remove his infamous hoodie, less he sweat himself silly right before their very eyes. What was exposed was a Facebook seal that had a retro-cultish-draconian type of image - which shocked Swisher into exclaiming, "Oh my God. You're a cult."
We have seen insignias like this in the past and one could only speculate why Zuckerberg was still keeping it hidden from public view. In fact according to a Mashable report, "based on a picture taken at the conference, SFWeekly actually reconstructed the insignia" for its readers - meaning that Zuckerberg was unwilling to supply anyone with a printed or digital copy of the image.
Many interpretations of the insignia have indicated it's Facebook's mission statement. They discuss how Facebook transformed over the years from simply an online directory that connected people through social networks at colleges, to today's Open Graph, where Facebook gives people the power to share and make the world more 'open' and 'connected.'
Others dismiss the references of the insignia in the context of a cult symbol. Chris Matyszczyk in his CNet report goes as far as to say it has an 'emotional' appeal. His rational is based on the "+1" in the southern apex of the symbol which he interprets as one of Facebook's central tenets. "As the Internet has made us more isolated, it's made us crave, with ever greater intensity, the company of others." In so doing, the "+1" gives Facebook, a human face." [Because don't we all just need a "+1" in our lives? What?]
Freemasonry InsigniaI'm not buying it. Zuckerberg is not looking for just a "+1." Zuckerberg is looking for a "+500 Million," a "+1 Billion." Insignias such as this are used to mobilize the multitudes, as cult leaders have done in the past. Whether Zuckerberg has been influenced by his days of secret societies at Harvard, such as "Skull & Bones," covert religious orders like the 'Illuminati,' Freemasonry or worst political movements like Nazism, insignias differing from logos are used to stir the passions and rally blind followers.
The reason the insignia was kept within the inner circles of Facebook up till now, is probably the most disturbing part of this story. In a world that Zuckerberg professes he would like to see 'free,' 'transparent,' and 'open,' perhaps he should apply those same requisites to his own behavior, particularly when proselytizing before large audiences that he would like to convert into future Facebook evangelists.
Can one insignia mobilize the masses? Now that Pandora's box is open, it will be interesting to see how Zuckerberg will use his secret insignia tool, and who will be goose-stepping to Facebook's future drumbeat?