Last week Facebook went public. Mark got married and celebrated his 28th birthday. Today Facebook stock is down. I don’t think one or two days really tell the story but I wonder, like everyone else – where’s the money?
No doubt Facebook has a tremendous grasp on our attention. Many of us put many hours into it communicating with our many friends. It’s become a part of our lives. My own experience has been an on-and-off relationship with Facebook. Sometimes I’m just the giver – sharing what I am most proud of with my community along with silly things of no consequence, just to let friends know I know how. At other times, I become the voyeur, peeking into others lives, viewing what sometimes looks like personal conversations I was not invited to. Spying on their photo albums as if I am a part of their lives. I enjoy the easy access to my “friends’” world. I especially enjoy receiving text messages sent to my phone on their latest updates. It makes me feel like they want me to know – even if they never know that I knew. I COMMENT at times to keep the conversation going. I LIKE when I actually DO appreciate a comment – and understand it. And mostly, I just look, thinking they don’t even know I’m watching.
What I don’t do is buy. Truth is, I have invested in advertising with Facebook from time to time but I can’t say I’ve much to show for it. Unlike Google, where I might actually be searching to make a purchase, Facebook is not my favorite shopping mall. Perhaps there are some subliminal advertisements that get my attention and result in a purchase I might not otherwise have made – I don’t know. But the advertiser wouldn’t either if I make my purchase outside the application.
And of course, there is the incredible data that Facebook accumulates. And the incredible privacy issues that it gets subjected to. I really don’t have that many secrets to keep and I’d just assume get the ads that are relevant to my life instead of the hit-and-miss marketing that seems to show up in my email daily – but that’s just me.
I liken Facebook, along with the other social media modes, to the telephone, which in 1876 was described as an “apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically”. It’s a new mode of communication and one that has value. How that value becomes substantial income for the company is yet to be seen.
I value Facebook and believe their existence is only the beginning of something amazing. What that is, my simple mind can’t yet fathom. Perhaps some readers have more insights than I do. Please share.