Facebook? Make that a Google, Please.

Only two out of five Americans are not on Facebook. I’m one of the lonely who stay out of the joint by choice. Although I’m darn social-media-savvy (proud to say I was an early adopter on Twitter, beginning in fall 2007. Compare that to the guy on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” this morning – I don’t know his name – who conquered Twitter in March. Piker.)

However, when students ask why I’m not on Facebook, I tell them it’s because I don’t want any more friends. They usually laugh..even though within seconds their eyes begin sneaking peeks at their friends’ updates and I can tell that I have once again successfully managed to avoid drilling deep into any relationship with them.

Yesterday Facebook launched its IPO, the third largest in history. Creator Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire times twenty. The link that best summarizes what happened within the next 24 hours was from the WSJ.com’s Follow Mark Zuckerberg’s Worth in Real Time During Facebook IPO Day. Take a sec right now to check it out but then please come back.

You see, it’s the peaks and the valleys of the day that interest me most. We can’t tell how much MZ was up or down at any given moment – the stock ran from $38 to $41 as best as I can tell, then finished flat. So, give or take one billion, or 500-million or whatever, you’re talking about big numbers that the average person might want to be a part of.

But what would you really be buying if you purchased even one share of Facebook stock? Yes, you’d be part owner of a company that has 900 million followers, is the largest time suck of all the social media sites and even had a movie made summarizing its start.

But that would be about it.

Apart from MZ and all of the people lucky enough to have owned stock before the IPO, {NB: The price of a starter home in Palo Alto is now $2 million. Damn Gen Y.} it’s hard to see where there’s any “worth” in it. I don’t care what anybody says: No body is going to look at your stupid ad on Facebook. And if you can’t “sell” those eyeballs, you’re not selling anything.

Look at this fantastic interactive from the nytimes.com The Facebook Offering: How it Compares. (I love online news sites that do cool stuff such as this.) Tech stocks launch with great fanfare..but then go flat or even bust.

Except for Google. Now Google is probably not the sainted company it proclaims to aim to be with its motto: “Don’t be Evil.” Google is too damn big, too intrusive. But it is so darn good at what it does. That’s why Google is still the king, as far as I’m concerned.

Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Forms, OH! and don’t forget good old Google search. Where would we be without them? But be aware, be very aware, that Google has been using its secret sauce algorithms to collect oodles (a techie term) of data bits on you, your life, your wife, your need for a plumber, your location. Remember when you wrote a gmail telling your sister that you probably needed to re-shingle your mom’s house and the next time you opened gmail a list of roofers in your area opened up on the right? Spooky, man.

And I pray it never comes down to The New York Times v. Googlezon, I shared with you in 2008.

But for now, for me, please wrap up one share of Google stock and send it along.

Don’t have my address? Just Google it.

(This post in no way is meant to be interpreted as an offer to buy or sell any security or to make claims as to any stock’s future performance. Individual stocks can vary widely in price and you certainly should not put all of your 401-K eggs into any one basket. Please, consult your physician before purchasing these or any other securities, bonds, notes or other assets. Also, TSRC is not responsible for the views of this Ellen person.)

5 Responses

  1. FB shares are plummeting today. No surprise there. I would add that social media is a fad and DOES NOT address the limitations of human attention. We are bombarded by cyber-shit every few seconds. How does social media address – if not exacerbate – this huge and growing problem?

    And last, I leave you with my favorite quote about FB:

    “To friend a person on Facebook is merely to include the person in our private hall of flattering mirrors.”

  2. Newt: Great quote on FB. It’s sad to see someone thinking a “friend” there is a real-life friend. And I have to say I think the notion of our seeking others “..in our private hall of flattering mirrors” probably does describe a lot of our internet usage overall. Like tends to see like.

    But I disagree with the thought that social media are a fad. They will continue to grow, propagate, go bankrupt, reproduce, etc. etc. according the usage of people who love the power social media have given them. They are never going to go back to the days when the “big” media spoon fed to them whatever big media wanted to serve.

    I recommend this excellent summary of the state of social media (as of the end of 2011) by social researcher and author Brian Solis: http://www.briansolis.com/2011/10/state-of-social-media-2011 My students and I are going to discuss it tomorrow, in fact!

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Thank you Ellen but I am still skeptical. I haven’t purchased a single item or voted for someone because of anything I’ve seen on facebook or twitter. Further, my teenagers tell me that they and their peers have all but stopped using FB – all the hipsters now use twitter instead. 18 months from now it will be something else, so I agree with you on that score. To me, it’s all cyber-crap, way more than the human mind can absorb.

    • spot on, Newt. Another way to get inundated in crap. (now i’m going back to playing minesweeper….)

  4. Never heard of “minesweeper,” PM, but I sure could use a mind sweeper many days. Do you remember that film from a number of years back..about “Life Out of Balance” (Koyaanisqasti)? I think of that often and wonder how to halt that without becoming a hermit. http://youtu.be/PirH8PADDgQ
    The explosion of Web content made available to and shared by all of us has punched it all out exponentially.

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