Facebook once considered a blue hedgehog mascot
Facebook could have had a mascot. A blue, hedgehog, mascot.
Visions of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog might come racing to mind.
The reason? Well, it seems Facebook was at one time considering creating a Yelp-like feature for businesses.
In an effort to get those businesses on board, Napster founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker wanted to pitch the concept using a likeable animal mascot, namely a blue hedgehog, according to former Facebook employee Ezra Callahan, who wrote about the scenario on the website Quora.
Callahan explained the ordeal in response to a question posed by a user of the website named Samir Ghobril.
True story: in the very early days of Facebook, Sean Parker wanted to make Facebook's mascot a hedgehog. We had early plans to build a local business program around each college on the site (a Yelp-like service similar to what later became Facebook Pages). As part of that, Sean wanted us to send each participating business a little blue stuffed hedgehog. Matt Cohler and I even sourced a couple companies to make them.
Sean actually wanted us to get a real hedgehog for the office. Turns out they aren't street legal in California, or something, but I guess he found a way to obtain one in Nevada. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your affinity for hedgehogs) Sean couldn't convince any of us to drive there to get one.
The local business program was shelved mid 2005 (we decided a revenue product wasn't as important after the Accel financing), and Sean let his dream of the hedgehog go with it.
If I'm not mistaken, a couple employees who live near the facebook campus own a hedgehog today. I won't name them in case they are, in fact, illegal, but I guess that sorta counts.
Twitter has its flocks of tiny blue birds fluttering around.
And Google's Android mobile operating system has an army of green robots hovering on billboards and ads.
Who knows what could have been had Facebook given the hedgehog -- maybe wearing a hoody a la Mark Zuckerberg -- a shot?
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: This Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009 photo shows Inky, a participant at the Rocky Mountain Hedgehog Show in Colorado Springs, Colo. Fewer than 150,000 hedgehogs are estimated to live in the United States, despite their well-known roles in the Beatrix Potter books, Disney-Pixar movies and Sega video games. Credit: Mariah Tauger/The Gazette/AP Photo