When you run the world’s most popular social media platform, it would stand to reason that you’re pretty good at communicating. Like, you understand social cues, dead space, self-deprecation, making others comfortable, yadda yadda yadda.
Only, what if that’s not the case? What if your life is ruled so much by emoticons, thumbs up, shares, and the endless roll of comments that you’ve completely forgotten how to just be?
For Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, it would appear nothing comes easy — especially when you’re trying to do everything with a broken arm and no one believes you.
The millennial and Mission District mansion-owner — who at least some of the time commutes outside the city for work, when he's not staying at his Palo Alto compound — invited old man comedian Jerry Seinfeld to Facebook headquarters Tuesday for the company’s very first live Q&A.
Mostly dull, the video is quite long at an hour. But right off the bat, we get some useful info: Zuck says he’s not one of the lizard people. (We don’t blame you if you’re still not convinced.) But after that reveal, just skip to about the 43-minute mark.
That’s when Seinfeld “arrives.”
At this point, Zuck makes a big mistake in live streaming by leaving the frame to “find” Jerry. It feels like eons, but they do finally get back to the camera.
Apparently to get both men in the frame, they must sit uncomfortably close to each other, forcing Zuck to use incredible posture so as not to place his face in Seinfeld’s lap. They are so close that it appears Zuck has his hand on Seinfeld’s left hip for most of the conversation.
The rest of it is very much parent taking to millennial child. Seinfeld’s first “who the fuck is this guy?” moment comes after Zuck drops typical techie lingo when describing Facebook’s virtual reality venture Oculus: “It’s just much more compelling when you can change the world and interact with other people.”
Then they go to the question part — pre-submitted questions and live questions that Seinfeld says are not interesting at all. Zuck gets nervous.
So Seinfeld pivots and starts asking Zuck questions.
On his morning routine: Unsurprisingly, Zuck’s first impulse upon waking is to check Facebook.
On the artificial intelligence Zuck has been toying with: Seinfeld wonders why anyone would spend so much time on something that just opens your front door.
Then the broken arm comes up. Zuck fractured a tiny bone near his elbow after falling off his new bike 10 seconds into riding it. He says for that kind of injury, it’s better to not have a cast. (We’re guessing he was treated at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in the Mission.)
“I have a way of making things more intense than they should be,” Zuck deadpans.
Then the good stuff starts — as in the most awkward and hilarious parts. They take a question that’s not really a question, more of a suggestion. Zuck is thrilled with it, Seinfeld not so much. Someone in Menlo Park suggests they should attend a neighborhood block party. Seinfeld quickly dismisses the notion, much to Zuck’s chagrin. More techie lingo ensues: Zuck thinks Facebook builds a global community, and “playing a part in the local community” is at the heart of what Facebook does.
“What part would we play besides, ‘Can I take a selfie with you,’” Seinfeld offers.
This is the big divide between the two, perhaps between the generations. Zuck believes Facebook and the like have made the world a better place. Seinfeld holds no such illusions.
“Your goal was to take the social experience and put it online,” Seinfeld says. “My goal was to take the actual, human social experience and get away from that.”
“Yeah, I would like to eliminate the entire social experience.”
“Why? That sounds terrible.”
“Because I don’t feel comfortable.”
They both laugh.
“Stand-up comedy is a way to interact with people in a completely anonymous way. Unconnected. You never meet any of these people,” Seinfeld says. “That’s the first virtual reality: stand-up comedy.”
“Interesting,” says Zuck, totally serious, completely missing the joke. “It seems we have completely different reactions to dealing with our social insecurities.”
When Zuck says near the end that it’s been a pretty fun live Q&A, Seinfeld chuckles in obvious disagreement.
But before Zuck can wrap and update his status, Seinfeld gets in the deepest dig of all. He tells him that Zuck’s handlers warned him about the broken arm — like, creepily it would seem: “Don’t ask him, don’t pretend you know about it, but if he brings it up the arm is really broken.”
“It’s a big thing going on at the company today,” Seinfeld says.
Zuck’s response: “Um … yeah.”