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The Future of Facebook: Will FB Keep It's 50 Million Dollar Worth or Fall Flat Like Myspace?
In recent news...
Through out the last half of 2011, hot news roamed across the world wide web about the $50,000,000 price tag that was given to facebook when Zuckerburg had his brain child appraised for going public and opening up the option for rich wall street tycoons to start buying shares of facebook to raise money to planned changes and to cover current and future overhead costs for facebook (which is estimated to be at least $4 billion).
For some, the news was crazy an facebook was being way over valued. For others, it was hardly enough worth for the social network that did what no other social network seemed able to do - to attract and retain more than 3 billion users. Many people laughed at the idea of facebook being worth that much, but as it turns out, those who control the value of things in this world, have cleared the okay for facebook to hold such a high monetary value. Facebook is considered highly valuable to corporations, businesses, organizations, politicians, stock holders and anyone other already rich and looking to get richer mogul who are losing a few million pennies an want to get their marketing in the only place where the public pays attention to anything anymore - Facebook. Long gone are the days when consumers (that's what they call us) really paid attention to TV ads, radio commercials (heck, half the nation has stopped watching traditional cable television anyways), billboards, newspaper ads, bus ads or any other form of traditional marketing. With all those methods pretty much obsolete, the big dogs are starting to notice their riches slow down (oh no!) and they want to order themselves a big piece of that facebook cake they find so seductive.
And facebook, as it obviously appears, is not about to turn them down.
Will facebook hold it's worth?
I'm sure you well remember just how quickly Myspace rose to fame as the first truly popular social network known to the internet. Users flocked to be a part of the Myspace fad, and in true lemming fashion, the marketers cliff dived onto the platform after their cherished consumers.
Everything seemed to work out well for a while, with only a few adds here and there. Myspace kept themselves interesting and trendy by adding a few key entertaining widgets (like the Music Player) and not changing the platform to much at any given time. Eventually, Myspace had more than 4 million users participating in the social networking fun.
But then, they started experimenting with putting more ads around the social network, adding lag intensive widgets and changing things so dramatically and so often that Myspace users could hardly keep up with what was going on. Enter facebook, and people left in droves to join the new social network that was not only simple in asthetics, but it was easy to sign up and had no advertisements at the time. Something that is highly valued by the average user.
With a new place to go to that was much more appealing, and with Myspace changing to quickly and dramatically, people quickly gave up on Myspace and left it in the ever growing pile of dust it still sits in today. Granted, they still have a fairly decent number of users, we all know it will never again be what it was. Even though Myspace has done what it could to go back to a simpler way, the image is set and it isn't likely that they'll ever gain back the attention they once had.
So now facebook is beginning to mirror the mistakes of it's predecessor. They have already aggravated billions of users who came to facebook because of it's simplicity, by constantly making silently announced changes to the platform on a frequent yet not quite predictable basis. Now they are getting ready to implement a dramatic platform change known as the "Timeline Profile" on all their users. Which is not yet widely known to those who don't keep up with regular facebook news and the facebook blog. They did do slightly better by allowing many users to test out the new timeline profile, though they get a F minus for listening to their users, most of whom find themselves upset by the new profile after using it for a month or more, especially when they found out they couldn't change their profile back after 15 days of using the new version.
So with dramatic and highly unattractive changes being prepared to be forced on billions of facebook uses, many who have no idea such a thing is going to happen, it brings to mind the question - will facebook hold it's value if they continue to ignore their users opinions?
Another bothersome problem...
To bring into view another example - when social media users found out that Myspace was owned by the extensively wealthy and highly dispicable Rubert Murdoch, they had just one more very large reason to stop using myspace. If they weren't already upset by the platform changes and lagging templates, myspace users found themselves inclined to boycott anything to do with Rupert Murdoch, who controls much of the worlds new medias, and who clearly is in charge of censoring the mainstream medias from reporting what is truly important in the world right now.
With that in mind, I wonder if facebook isn't headed in the same direction by aligning themselves with Wall street and the worlds stock exchanges. Sure, facebook has never specifically said they were "for the people" over business. Though I feel that many people had the impression that facebook wasn't going to sell out like Myspace and others had before. Especially since they've allowed so much free speech and activism throughout their platform, and they even refused to give the DHS specific data and access to peoples information on facebook.
That altruistic image is about to have as dramatic a make over as the platform once facebook starts allowing their shares to be purchased. Especially since I haven't heard a single bit of news, or even a tiny rumor about any sort of filtering over who they will allow to purchase those highly valuable stocks. For all we know, they could give up 51% of facebook to the highest bidder who could be Monsanto, Phillip Morris, any number of crooked Governments, Rupert Murdoch, Glaxo-Smith-Cline or anyone else with enough money to buy up so many shares. Once that happens, I know I will definitely question my loyalty to facebook, and just the thought of that has already lead me to seek out any other platforms out there that might offer what facebook is getting rid of - a simple to use platform, profile and social network that anyone can use.
And sure, right now they may only be changing the look of the profile, and many of those changes are pretty cool, but as we known from facebooks past behaviors, it won't stop there, regardless of how much protesting facebook users may do.
All Things Considered
With so many dramatic changes taking place across facebook, and so many backdoor alliances secretly being forged while facebook users continue to user their favorite social media unaware, I have to wonder if facebook isn't inadvertently organizing it's own funeral procession.
It remains to be seen what will happen and how things will change. It could be that everything facebook is doing, and what they will do with their funding (and where ever it comes from) will be fantastic and cultivate an even stronger bond with facebook users then ever before.
Or it could be that facebook is being overzealous and are inevitably dooming themselves to slide off the public pedestal they are currently on. At this point who knows?
Just some food for thought.