Companies can do some pretty silly things at times (and I’m not just talking about how BP’s CEO has been able to shoot off his mouth to the media over the past few weeks). Apparently in this age of social media there’s a growing awareness that companies like Facebook have a tremendous amount of leverage over their nearly 500 million users and have been manipulating this leverage for profit. As the level of this awareness and subsequently the level of public ire has risen to a fever pitch it seems that Facebook has decided to create a “mission statement seal” that CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed at the D8 conference on Wednesday, June 2nd. Aside from the knee-jerk reaction from the audience – interviewer Kara Swisher immediately asked if he was in a cult – this sort of idiogram is already strongly linked in to a variety of powerful themes within the social consciousness and I wonder if they could have picked something slightly less emotionally charged.
In the most basic terms the image image has two basic elements: three two-headed arrows which are linked to form a hexagram (i.e., a six-pointed star) as well as a circle which is intertwined with the arrows to tie the pieces together into a single shape. The hexagram is well-known as a powerful religious symbol and is most commonly linked to Judiasm. Colloquially called the “Star of David,” this shape is also commonly used by Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhism, Freemasonry, astrology, occultism, and virtually every religious or ideological group over the past several thousand years. I find it hard to believe that whoever designed the Facebook seal was oblivious to the powerful emotional response it would evoke.
Let’s have a look at the circle. A circle is one of the most simple geometric shapes whose origin predates the hexagram and has been known since the dawn of man. It represents some of the most primitive concepts in human history, including the cycle of life and eternity. It is also worth mentioning that when a point is added to the center of a circle, it is frequently associated with the notion of one supreme being or God.
When you put these two shapes together (and let’s not lose sight of the date at the center point of the diagram) you have an interesting image that one cannot help but connect with on a pretty basic level. I’m not suggesting that there’s a New World Order conspiracy afoot at Facebook’s headquarters, but I do think that the design was deliberately created to evoke a certain kind of visceral and powerful response.
What do you think?