What does Facebook's cult insignia really signify?

On removing his trademark hoodie, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have revealed the true intent behind his organization's need to push people into a less lonely unknown.

Perhaps you, like the hallowed eyes and minds of CNET's Buzz Out Loud , were made uncomfortably moist by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's rather peculiar performance at the D8 conference.

Certainly, as he fretted and sweated, you wondered just what was really going through his mind and how many cold beers and compresses he might have needed to return to himself after such a difficult experience.

Perhaps the most open, most connected (on a human level), and certainly the most erotically charged moment of the interview was when Facebook's CEO removed his hoodie. This revealed a logo on the inside that might well have been designed by someone who enjoys putting large spikes into his or her thighs.

It was AllThingsD's Kara Swisher who suggested that there was a certain Illuminatish flavor behind the design. Now the SF Weekly has taken it upon itself to analyze its full semiotics.

The SF Weekly suggests the following: "The bi-directional arrows indicate that each part generates inbound and outbound sharing; The labels on the arrows--GRAPH, here represented by the "friend requests" icon, STREAM, represented by the "messages" icon, and PLATFORM, represented by the "notifications" icon--represent the three prongs of Facebook's strategy for 2010."

The blue ring, the SF Weekly suggests, is "the interface or Facebook's wall around user data." And the motto on the top half of the blue ring signifies "'making the world open and connected'...Facebook's obviously unofficial 'Mission Statement.'"

But perhaps it's too easy to suggest that this is the work of a cult. It feels too simplistic to suggest that these are a bunch of scientists taking logic to a Scientological level.

Surely the most interesting part of this logo is at its southern apex. There we have one lone head and shoulders. Next to the head and shoulders is placed "+1."

This seems to be the very fundament of not only this logo, but also Facebook's reason for being. How many times do we wish we had a "+1" and somehow that being isn't there? How many times do we feel as if no one understands us or, as Zuckerberg would have it, as if the world is full of "misperceptions"?

As the Internet has made us more isolated, it's made us crave, with ever greater intensity, the company of others. Facebook is perhaps the world's greatest and most interesting experiment in how much we are prepared to open up ourselves, how much, indeed, we're prepared to give up of ourselves, in order to gain some kind of emotional, if not physical, connection with others. (Even when those "others" are brands and not people.)

Sometimes, Facebook manages to obfuscate some of its best parts with a strange compunction to avoid some of humanity's biggest questions. The "+1" element of this logo should surely be used to considerable and graphic effect in giving the Facebook brand more of a human face.

Mark Zuckerberg seems to see himself as something of an evangelist. But look at all the best ones. They smile. They project. They touch your emotions. They make you feel as if you are not alone. They open their arms and connect with you by making you feel that those arms are giving you one big hug.

Sadly, on stage, Zuckerberg himself seemed to be in need of a hug. Which might make it a pity that he was not British, as that country's new Prime Minister, David Cameron, has believed for some time that hugging a hoodie should be one of society's most important instincts.

However, this secret, silky new Facebook logo surely offers hope. It offers the Facebook CEO a chance to instinctively fill some more exalted shoes. It can surely be the gateway to a vast market gap, a market need, that he can truly exploit. With a little more confidence and the "+1" logo, Zuckerberg could surely become an evangelist for far greater connections than the merely commercial.

And remember, there has never yet been a successful evangelist who has worn a hoodie.

 

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