Simeon L. Bardin
It’s rather obvious by now that Facebook has taken over the world. Everyone’s on it: your sister, your boss, the old lady down the street. (This magazine and every other media outlet in the universe, too.) Mark Zuckerberg is a household name, The Social Network was a smash, and the seven-year-old site boasts some 500 million members worldwide (and counting).
But a small subsection of the American populace is actively bucking the trend—including, it seems, a surprising number of Philly’s power players: CEOs, politicians, community leaders, celebs and so forth. There are plenty of exceptions, among them restaurateur Marc Vetri, District Attorney Seth Williams, Comcast VP David Cohen, the Center City District’s Paul Levy, Congressman Chaka Fattah (and his news-anchor wife, Renee Chenault Fattah), freaking Stu Bykofsky — all of whom maintain personal profiles. But many others, including Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Urban Outfitters’s Dick Hayne, Penn president Amy Gutmann, Drexel honcho John Fry and Congressman Bob Brady, have either declined to join the New World Order or rely upon impersonal “fan” profiles — basically, dressed-up PR machines or rehashed Wikipedia pages that, for our purposes, don’t count.
So what gives? In one sense, it’s not that surprising. Social media, though pervasive, is a relatively new phenomenon, and many power players were already well into middle age when Facebook opened to the public — not just college kids — in 2006. And some people, especially well-known people, just don’t want to spill their guts to the entire Internet every day. A rep for super-lawyer Steve Cozen, for instance, told us Cozen “doesn’t have time” for Facebook (and neither would you, if you billed a bazillion bucks an hour). The Committee of Seventy’s Zack Stalberg says posting a page would “just encourage me to put out more bullshit about myself than I already do.” Says developer Bart Blatstein: “Who’s interested in when I eat or what I look like in a bathing suit?” Spokespeople for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, state representative Dwight Evans and Eagles coach Andy Reid declined to comment on their bosses’ Facebook aversions. (Although, we should note, Reid’s doppelgänger, lawyer/Quizzo champ/City Council candidate Steve Odabashian, does have a personal account.)
Speaking of Reid, he may not have his own page, but he does have a handful of imitators — and a couple Facebook groups calling for his head on a platter. Police commissioner Charles Ramsey actually has two pages — he created one by accident — that his press aides originally told us they thought were fake. (They’re real.)
Leave it to Mayor Nutter to strike an appropriate balance. Between updates on legislation and reports from neighborhood events, Nutter, who also maintains an active Twitter account — which is fine, but nowhere near as entertaining as Newark mayor Cory Booker’s — slips in some personal details: In case you were wondering, one of his favorite movies is City Hall.