The debut of Facebook on Wall Street, with its imminent IPO, is attracting a ton of analysis from every quarter about the social network’s true worth. Everyone from Spin Sucks to Jason Falls to CNN.com has an idea about whether or not we should take seriously FB’s supposed sky-high valuation.
To be honest, the valuation of just about anything these days shocks this old lady. Gee, we used to buy gas for 65 cents a gallon.
It’s funny how, in a way, as inflation soars, money becomes increasingly irrelevant. Getting what you want becomes a matter of leverage, involving many assets besides money. Assets like content and contacts, systems and apps.
I spent an hour this evening on Facebook, as I’m often wont to do. It was entirely enjoyable.
Google+ lets me lounge in video hangouts enjoying my friends and family of an evening as if we’re in the same room. Will that overshadow the use of FB? In some ways at least, I bet it will.
But the breathtaking leap that Facebook has allowed us will never lose its worth. Being able to communicate so casually and yet so meaningfully with friends, family, and whoever else re-defines our humanity.
One of my fave social media commentators is Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer. He tweeted a couple days ago that he did not consider email to be social media. I enjoyed pouncing on that remark, claiming email to be the original social medium. .
Falls tweeted back, “I just think of ‘social’ as something that happens between people that others can see. You can’t see my email.” Valid enough.
Public dialog certainly is a good description of social media, but it is not comprehensive. Online forums, for instance, are often private, though they represent some of the most effective social networks.
So what is the defining characteristic of social media? Can such a definition be made?
Or is it more like the ocean? There’s no ultimate defining characteristic of the ocean. It too is a medium, not a thing distinct in itself. The ocean incorporates the briny depths, the sandy shore, the churning sky.
Who can say what social media is? Yet we know it when we see it. It’s brief, intimate, improvisational. It’s conversational and non-commercial.
From a longer viewpoint, social media might include in-person networking, meetups, etc. Maybe social media is whenever you speak as yourself. Comments?
One thing prominent on my list of to-dos is to get an account at Hootsuite. It’s a service that’s earned high praise from all quarters, and I could be more efficient by using it.
But Jason Falls wrote a post today that reminded me why that task seems to stay on the list and not get crossed out. I’ve a slightly indignant disinclination to can my messages. Remember that term? We used to speak of canned music: a recording, not the real thing.
If you plaster a single, duplicated message across many different platforms, you’re taking the belligerent route, IMO. Belligerence describes old marketing; the new inbound marketing emphasizes a soft sell.
To post the same updates to Twitter and Facebook, for instance, ignores the unique energy of each site. Why confine Facebook to Twitter’s 140 characters, as if the use and character of these two tools were the same? It’s like using a screwdriver as a hammer.
There are really solid reasons why “the big 3″ – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – have gained prominence. They’re each useful in their own right, for different things and different people at different times. To homogenize them is to lose their usefulness entirely.