Is Facebook A Fad?

Zynga, Groupon and now Facebook. They’re Internet darlings, the buzz is incredible, they go public and the stock plunges. Are they one hit wonders?

The Internet’s a funny place. Everybody is findable and reachable but most content goes unknown, forever sitting deep in Google unclicked upon. And then there are those pages that go monstrous instantly. That everyone pays attention to.

I think this is a social phenomenon.

You see we need rallying points.

Once upon a time we got this with TV. Whether it be discussing last night’s “Laugh In” routines or watching the finale of “M.A.S.H.”, the box was our culture.

But then, with five hundred channels, movies took TV’s place. That was one thing we could count on, that you’d seen the hit movies. But as Hollywood focused more and more on international high concept drivel, many people lost the habit of going to the theatre and films were no longer guaranteed water cooler discussion topics. Turns out you might have seen the film, but no one else did, or vice versa.

And then came the Internet, with everything only a click away.

Remember Rebecca Black?

She’s no different from the Pet Rock. Something overhyped that we all remember but have not seen in the wild for an eternity.

Or there’s that athlete warming up for the hurdles. If you’re a male, you’ve seen the clip. But she didn’t even qualify for the Olympics.

Now the foregoing are viral videos that grew from the bottom up, which gained a bit of traction in the mainstream media, but to see the game in action at a higher level, just look at the aforementioned public companies, Zynga, Groupon and Facebook. They all existed before the mainstream trumpeted them. But once the mainstream decided to hype them they became national treasures, before they became national disappointments.

But we all loved talking about Facebook. And Groupon coupons. And, of course, millions played FarmVille.

But to think a game would sustain is to believe Falco or that “How Bizarre” guy, whose name eludes me, is a career artist and is forever.

In other words, Wall Street business is now the record business. And the only people who seem to know this is the users, those on the outside, who don’t even own any stock.

You enjoy utilizing Facebook and Groupon and Zynga. But that’s all you do. You don’t see them as vehicles for getting rich.

But that’s usually the only reason their executives formed the companies. To make money. And they’ve hyped these entities like PR companies hype films, which most times fail upon release. But in this case, the mainstream bought it.

And because we’ve got so few common reference points, and it’s so easy for us to access these products, they take on an air of ubiquity and inevitability, that they’re here to stay.

But we just needed something to talk about, to rally around. They’re really no different from popsicles.

I’m not saying every Internet business is flawed. But many are. Focus on those involved with hard goods, whether it be Apple or Amazon. And Google is great for now, but even the search giant is challenged by the move to mobile. We’ve yet to see Google have a second act.

You see there’s very little big thinking. We used to rely on the mainstream media and Wall Street to look out for us, to survey the landscape and distill an even-handed reality. But if they ever did that before, they certainly don’t do it now. Wall Street is chasing instant profits. Warren Buffett may play for the long term, but he’s about the only one. And the media is too often peopled by reporters as opposed to experts. People asking the five w’s, getting the story, but missing the point. The facts oftentimes don’t tell you what’s going on, they’re just a basis for analysis.

So the consumer ping-pongs from item to item and the media and money believe everywhere people alight is gonna rain down money. But this has been proven to be untrue over and over again in the Internet sphere. People are grazers. And they like going where everybody else is. For a moment. Then they usually move on.

P.S. Please read this article on Path

It’s a social network that only works on mobiles. It could be the next thing, but is it the last thing? That’s a different question.

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