Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg failed to win over the crowd at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Monday, with some attendees leaving just 20 minutes into his keynote.
Zuckerberg, who talked up Facebook's WhatsApp buy and Internet.org collaboration for the duration of the talk, was interviewed on stage for 45 minutes in front of a crowd of hundreds at the Fira Gran Via, MWC's largest auditorium.
Before the keynote kicked off, attendees seemed rather excited to hear what the Internet entrepreneur had to say for himself. Lines to join the Facebook chief executive (CEO) on stage snaked back and forth for what seemed liked miles outside the auditorium's entrance. Before long the interior filled up, with hundreds of people being turned away just 15 minutes after the doors had opened. Luckily, or perhaps not, ClickZ's sister publication, The INQUIRER arrived early to secure a spot.
Once the keynote had begun, it wasn't long before attendees realized that their queuing efforts would perhaps have been better put to use somewhere else, as Zuckerberg's entrance on stage was a bit of an anti-climax, especially as most in the auditorium had been waiting an hour for him to arrive.
It might have had something to do with the lack of charisma of the 29-year-old social media chief, who failed to hold the attention of the audience for long. It could have had to do with the interviewer, who insisted on asking the Facebook CEO the same questions phrased in different ways, which led to Zuckerberg not saying anything we haven't heard before.
However, Zuckerberg didn't take the opportunity to set the stage alight with his personality, proving that neither being the creator of one of the biggest social media businesses the world has ever seen nor having more money than you know what to do with, can buy mass appeal. He talked very quickly in a monotone voice, and repeated his points, much to the disappointment of onlookers.
Some of the few really interesting topics Zuckerberg did address included his reasons behind the recent WhatsApp acquisition, which was because there are very few services that reach 1 billion people, and the effects of the NSA on U.S. companies, which now trust the government far less as a result. Though he did appear passionate about the topics he discussed, he spent more than half of the time he had on stage talking about the Internet.org scheme and how it aims to bring affordable Internet access to developing countries. It was nothing that we didn't already know.
Zuckerberg could have made his points sound more interesting, perhaps if he'd lit up his sentences with a smile or two, or at least a change in his expression. Instead, the novelty of listening to that young man who is one of the youngest billionaires on the planet soon wore off.
This article was originally published on the Inquirer.
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Prior to working at The INQUIRER, Lee was sponsored by the NCTJ to do a multimedia journalism course in London. After completing placements at local magazines and newspapers in both print and online he wrote for an online gaming news website, and it was here where his love for technology grew.
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March 19, 2014