Stick to Coding, Zuckerberg!



Before Mark E. Zuckerberg, formerly of the Class of 2006, was poking people on Facebook, he was poking people with



Before Mark E. Zuckerberg, formerly of the Class of 2006, was poking people on Facebook, he was poking people with a sword.

As a senior at Phillips Exeter Academy, the founder of Facebook Inc. did list tech support and computer programming on his 2001 application to Harvard. But the biggest component in Zuckerberg’s application wasn’t coding, but fencing.

02138 Magazine (which celebrates/lambastes Harvard alumni) posted Zuckerberg’s application on its Web site as part of “The Facebook Files,” which also includes documents being used as evidence in the court brawl between Facebook and ConnectU. The founders of ConnectU, another social networking company founded by former Harvard students, allege Zuckerberg stole the idea behind Facebook from them.

The crown jewel of the 02138 postings is Zuckerberg’s application, a hand-written (what happened to tech savvy?) document, in which Zuckerberg reveals his passion for fencing.

“Amidst a hectic week of work, fencing has always proven to be the perfect medium; for it is both social and sport, mental and athletic, and controlled yet sometimes undisciplined,” wrote Zuckerberg in response to the prompt asking about his most meaningful activity.

What does Zuckerberg’s essay reveal (besides the fact he took geekiness to a whole new level)?

Expos preceptor Elizabeth L. Greenspan offers the following critique of Zuckerberg’s essay:

“Zuckerberg seems to be offering up ‘fencing’ as a metaphor for himself, that Zuckerberg is–or imagines himself to be–‘both social and sport, mental and athletic, and controlled yet sometimes undisciplined,’” says Greenspan in an e-mail.

Interesting. But apparently ineffective: Greenspan adds that “the metaphor ultimately fails. Because rather than coming away from it with a sense of Zuckerberg’s character (however you evaluate these attributes), you are instead distracted by a true sense of embarrassment for the guy: Did he really just define himself through a fencing metaphor?”

Touché.