May 22, 2012
It is hard to be wrong 104 billion times without feeling a little defeated. However, there was some vindication for the Facebook naysayers on Friday as the “the most anticipated IPO ever” went out with whimper rather than a bang. And, now that the stock has to stand on its earnings rather than its media hype, there will be time—time to scrutinize the stock more rationally. This should embolden would-be Facebook slayers as well as attract the ever-feared shorts to the stock.
I continue to believe that neither Facebook nor the hoodie, by association, will fare well over time. This is neither a stock tip nor a fashion tip. It’s a statement of faith in human character. We are not built to suffer exploitation indefinitely. We are hard-wired for freedom. We throw off fashion as soon as becomes accepted style; we revolt once we feel the tug of the chain. Facebook is too overplayed and overtly manipulative to survive.
As its founder is quick to point out, Facebook was raised up by the people from nothing to something. It can just as easily be thrown asunder by the same people. And, I believe the people will choose privacy over virtual friendship and bolt from friending and liking. I see people leaving Facebook in the same manner they came to it—in droves. Hoodies will go the way of Members Only jackets; Facebook will join pet rocks on the list of inexplicable fads.
The increased public discussion of Facebook’s business model will only accelerate the pace of defection. Putting Facebook into the light of the marketplace will make it repugnantly clear to the platform’s near billion members that they are worth more to Facebook than the company is worth to them. This will tarnish the company’s glitzy, hip persona and expose its greedy, pathologically driven underpinnings. After feeling invaded, feeling used has the highest revulsion factor, especially among teenagers and young adults. Transparency will not be kind to Facebook in the end.