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.)

Surprise: Technology and campaigning will be different than 4 years ago

Is anyone surprised that presidential campaigning, particularly online communication, is going to look and feel different in 2012 than it did in 2008? My god, even the simple act of reading news online is wildly different now than it was then. From the Star Tribune:

The 2012 campaign wars will be waged in ways that were unimaginable in the last presidential race. From the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to the use of “geo-targeting” through mobile phones and search engines, 2012 presidential candidates have powerful tools to track down supporters and keep them engaged.

“It’s easy to forget that when the 2008 presidential was getting started, Facebook and Twitter were barely a factor,” said Mindy Finn, Pawlenty’s new media adviser. “The big shift that’s occurred since then is the growth of participation on social networking sites … half of Americans are on Facebook.”

Search and social networking websites like Google have responded by staffing politics teams in Washington. Facebook recently hired a second person for the 2012 campaign.

But online campaigning isn’t all fun and games. Relying on social networks like Facebook and Twitter cedes some control of the message, as commenters have free rein to attack and criticize. And technical snafus can become a public embarrassment, as Bachmann found out last month when a Facebook town hall event suffered technical difficulties.

Wait, wait, wait. “Cedes some control”?! That’s been the naysayers’ go-to criticism of online communication since the invention of the discussion forum, and it’s as short-sighted today as it was then. Especially in the world of politics, which is such a cacophonous environment anyway — there’s no shortage of other voices and other forums in which people can criticize or support a candidate’s message.

Look at it this way: Critics are everywhere. By establishing, say, a Facebook page for your campaign, you’re not giving commenters “free rein to attack and criticize” (they already have that). You’re building a community of people who will help debate — and sometimes simply shout down — those attacking commenters.

Still, the last two presidential elections have each pushed the bar higher for online campaigning. In 2004 it was Howard Dean’s online fundraising; in 2008 Obama’s online organizing and use of text messages.

The Pawlenty campaign hopes it can make its mark on 2012.

And the story closes with a graf that likely appeared word for word in a similar story nearly a decade ago (save for the Pawlenty-for-president reference):

He still has to do the traditional things to win supporters: speeches, shaking hands, television appearances. But now Pawlenty and other upstart candidates can ask for money or get a message out across the country with the click of a mouse button — and at a fraction of the cost of buying TV time. Said Finn: “The value of engaging online is not proportional to the amount of money spent on it.”

Pawlenty’s Youth Movement Plans Revealed

Item: Minnesota’s ex-Governor Tim Pawlenty insists that he, not President Obama, will win the coveted youth vote in the 2012 presidential race.

Not only that, Pawlenty revealed his secret weapon for winning over young adults. Policies to make higher education affordable? The mullet? The adorable “TPaw” self-branding? His cheeky TV ad showcasing his oh so hot “34-inch waist?”

No, the 50-year old candidate explained to the Vanderbilt University (no not that) Hustler that he had developed a special bond with 18-24 year olds because he — wait until you here this, kids — uses Facebook and accepts invites to The Daily Show!!!

Of course, that would be a bit more dope if 15 million senior citizens weren’t already using Facebook, and the other folks accepting Daily Show invitations these days weren’t senior citizens like Bob Dole, Madeline Albright, Zell Miller, Mario Cuomo, Allan Greenspan and Henry Kissinger.

– Loveland

The Holiday Spirit, To Whom It May Concern

We tackle all the controversial communications issues here at our little blog. But hold onto your mouse, because this is the hottest of the hot.

Holiday form letters: Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Now, I’ve heard your snarky comments about those holiday letters filling your mailboxes these days. And sometimes I have a tough time with them too.

I’m a caring friend, so I really do want to know how little what’s-his-name is doing. But I could live without the selective reporting about his mensa ways.

I am glad to hear that your Nanna is a special part of your life. But I don’t need the details about her gastrointestinal health.

And of course I care about the basics of your life trajectory. But it’s not neccessary to give extravagant accounts of your fabulous vacations, luxury purchases, civic virtues and professional advancements.

So, holiday letter haters, I feel your pain. I do understand the art form is not always executed flawlessly. But given the choice of receiving 1) nothing; 2) a card with just a signature or 3) a holiday form letter, I prefer to find the pre-fab letters in my mailbox, warts and all.

Continue reading “The Holiday Spirit, To Whom It May Concern”