How Mark Zuckerberg just explained his generation.
Mark Zuckerberg made a serious mark on history with a letter to his newborn daughter, Max. In the letter — which focused on many of his new family’s goals for the future of humanity — Zuck promised to give 99% of his Facebook shares (currently valued at about $45 billion) to charities advancing the causes related to “personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.”
The social media echo-chamber can be cynical about anything, but ignore all of it. This is an amazing gesture.
While Zuckerberg’s generosity may very well represent the best of his generation, his open letter to his daughter might represent one of its worst aspects. Zuck is taking two things — giving to charity and celebrating the birth of one’s child — that were once considered better left private, and making them public.
She’s only been around for a few hours and Max is already a household name. Consider this: Millions of people will have read Zuck’s letter to his daughter by the time she learns the alphabet.
For the younger crowd, this probably doesn’t seem like an issue. But there’s something a little sad about making the most private and intimate moments of one’s life public in real time.
But of course, that form of sharing is at the core of Zuckerberg’s vision — which now also includes the sharing of billions of dollars. And by the time she’s old enough to read, the line between our public and private lives will be so blurred that this article will make no sense at all. Max is undoubtedly fortunate to have a father who would celebrate her birth with such a grand gesture. I just sort of wish he had made it to her first and to the rest of us later. Or maybe never.
Dave Pell writes NextDraft. His kids can have it.