The “real” you on Facebook

From the New York Times article about Microsoft paying $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook, comes this quote from “a venture capitalist who is bullish on Facebook”:

“Facebook is based on who you really are and who your friends really are. That is who marketers really want to reach, not the fantasy you that lives on MySpace and uses a photo of a model.”

Obviously, the person who said this (who I don’t know, but with whom I share six “mutual” Facebook friends) is projecting his grown-up experience using Facebook. However, I feel certain if we polled a sample of the more-typical user of Facebook with the question, “Do you think the “you” people project on Facebook is really who they are?” they’d come a little closer to having the perception of Facebook that was recently articulated by Alice Mathias in a NY Times Op-ed piece written to debunk the notion among “its rapidly assembling adult population…that (Facebook) is a forum for genuine personal and professional connections.”

Explains Mathias:

“I’ve always thought of Facebook as online community theater. In costumes we customize in a backstage makeup room — the Edit Profile page, where we can add a few Favorite Books or touch up our About Me section — we deliver our lines on the very public stage of friends’ walls or photo albums. And because every time we join a network, post a link or make another friend it’s immediately made visible to others via the News Feed, every Facebook act is a soliloquy to our anonymous audience.

In other words, the stuff marketers really want to wrap around their brands.