jumping on the bandwagon

Facebook At a Loss…Authors Be Wary of Trends

I’ve been following this saga with Facebook with great interest because I’ve always been an extremely conservative investor (real estate, and only in resort areas…never flipping), and because I’m curious about whether or not online businesses like Facebook actually generate money through advertising.

From cnet.com:

More specifically, since the close of trading on Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg has lost almost $3 billion, at least on paper. (His total stake is still worth about $11.8 billion, a far cry from the $19 billion he held at the IPO price).

Of course this is just all hype now, and speculation to long term investors who invest wisely and are in for the long haul. No one really knows how FB will do in the future. I’m personally on the fence about it. It’s still a gamble any way you look at it, and I’m not convinced anything solely based on advertising revenue is a solid investment. I would be thinking very differently if they charged people to use FB. But then again, I wouldn’t BE on FB if anyone charged me to use it. So it’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out. I was right about QVC stock, and wrong about EBay stock in the past. I knew home shopping would take off, but I thought EBay was a joke.

This article is also a little frightening:

If Facebook had a “dislike” button, the social media giant would have the most clicks. A new report shows that the company may be nearing the end of its timeline, setting a record low among social media sites.

After a year of radical changes to the world’s largest social media website, Facebook’s reputation is dwindling, with user satisfaction falling below Twitter, LinkedIN and Google Plus.

With users deactivating their accounts out of privacy concerns and frustration with interface changes and advertisements, Facebook’s endless transformations may do itself more harm than good.

Facebook scored 61 out of 100 in customer satisfaction among active users, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. While Twitter and LinkedIN scored only slightly higher, Pinterest received a score of 69 and YouTube received 73.

The winners? Google+ and Wikipedia, tying at 78 points.

You can read more here at rt.com.

The article goes on to explain a few reasons why FB is experiencing this problem, and some of them are good reasons. A lot of this has to do with privacy. But I’ve always felt that FB is more of a trend and that people jump aboard with rigor in the beginning and slowly get tired of toward the end. If there were a shelf life for social media I would venture to guess that FB’s lifespan would be about six months. I’ve been on FB since the very beginning when everyone had only a handful of friends. I now have almost 4,000 and I don’t even know how I got there. But I do know one thing I’ve seen that never changes: over the years I’ve seen people come and go countless numbers of times. And it’s usually sudden, too. One day the status updates I’ve been seeing from so-and-so will completely disappear and I’ll never hear from that FB friend again. I’ve come to expect it. And I’ve also become very good at predicting who will hang on and who won’t. Oddly, the guy who got me into FB in the beginning is still my friend…a writer named Jonathan Stephens. We met through blogging a few years before that.

And don’t forget about the snark/mean factor. I’m sure people have unfriended me for various reasons over the years. And I’m guilty of it. I’ve unfriended people myself for reasons that aren’t always very solid. I dropped a woman author last night because she commented on the blog post of a blogger I’m not fond of. In that sense, I’ve always managed my friend list. And I prefer not to be associated with people that are associated with people I don’t like or trust. This particular blogger where the author left the comment has a long history of *VACUOUS* posts that promote vitriol within the writing community. She also seems to have a lot to say about gay fiction and yet she doesn’t write it, she’s not gay, and she’s in no way associated with gay fiction. So it was an easy decision to make. One click; unfriend. No drama.

But ultimately I’ve always believed that anything based on trends never lasts for very long. In the 80’s there was a huge boom in self-help books…everyone was reading one, writing one, or publishing one (not me). And we all know what happened there. A few got lucky; a few became popular and got rich; most crashed and burned and moved on to the next trend…I think it was chick lit.

This is why it’s also important for writers to be on guard with trendy genres as well. They don’t usually last. And that’s because there’s usually some kind of fundamental flaw that comes from so many people jumping onto the proverbial bandwagon to get rich quick. The market floods. The authenticity isn’t there. It becomes an insult and a joke at the same time. I’ve seen THAT happen before, too.