by Alyssa Oursler | July 17, 2013 8:40 am
My disdain for Facebook (FB) is nothing new.
Heck, it requires constant restraint to not repeatedly beat my complaining drum over the annoying posts populating my news feed or the nonstop monetization efforts that have become a staple of the now-public company.
But it gets to the point where Facebook doesn’t deserve the courtesy of self-restraint anymore. I mean, if the platform (and associated stock) is home to a number of head-shaking realities, that falls on them.
Pointing out what they are — again and again — is the only burden I bear.
With that in mind, duty calls. Here are five things everyone — whether you’re young or old, prefer Twitter or LinkedIn (LNKD), are a user or investor, and so on — should hate about the be-all and end-all of social networks.
My first complaint, quite simply, has to do with us — the users of Facebook. It’s gotten to the point that far too many of us mindlessly check Facebook whenever we are on the computer, and we also get notifications on our mobile phones. To sum it up: We live in Zuckerberg’s world almost as much as we live in the real one.
In fact, I recently interviewed Jeff Tinsley, the founder and CEO of MyLife.com, who who has nearly two decades of experience in consumer and business Internet. He pointed out that, according to a recent MyLife study, social media has “become more than a habit — it’s now an addiction,” while users also suffer from a “fear of missing out.”
My response: Get a grip, people. You’re hardly gaining anything valuable from Facebook stalking your ex-boyfriend, and getting 12 likes on your latest selfie won’t add to your self-worth.
Of course, I probably wouldn’t be as up in arms about folks being glued to their Facebooks if it wasn’t often blanketed in the vague and bullshit idea of “connecting with people.”
As if social media is the only place that ephemeral “connection” can happen.
Plus, Facebook’s connectivity is a passive and decidedly pathetic one, if you ask me. Heck, there’s a good chance the online part of your relationships are nothing more than narcissism — proof for the rest of the world that you have close friends and a lot of fun.
And that’s just on the consumer side. On the business side, Facebook is really just about money — which brings us to point No. 3.
Facebook has been making a mountain of moves with one simple goal: Make more money, and make investors happy.
This makes perfect sense from the point of view of the market, but think about what’s really going on here: Facebook is trying to turn you into money. Your data. Where you click. What you like. Of course, you can’t blame just Facebook for the age of cookies we live in — it’s the nature of the beast that is the Internet — but Zuck’s machine a prime example.
Facebook uses your email, your age, your spending data and more, then sells it to advertisers who want to get their name in front of your eyes. And you thought you were just writing a clever status about the Sharknado.
Another blemish on Facebook’s record: Its not-so-smooth initial public offering. No, we haven’t gotten over it yet.
In case you forget, Morgan Stanley (MS) essentially propped up the new stock’s price, leaving investors holding an overvalued stock ripe for a fall. Oh, and that was after investors had to wade through a pool of technical glitches.
To sum it up: Facebook’s debut was anything but pretty, and it was the last thing mom-and-pop investors already wary of Wall Street — and often rightfully so — needed. Plus, things have hardly gotten better. Facebook is still off 33% since its first day of trading and 4% so far this year.
And for the cherry on top of my pile of dislikes, we have to start at the bottom — with the company’s foundation.
To be blunt, Facebook’s business model is lacking, big-time.
Sure, in the most recent quarter, Facebook blessed investors with some decent news: Profit grew 9% year-over-year, with 30% of its ad sales coming from mobile ads (compared to 23% and 14% in the previous two periods). That’s great, people cheered. Mobile is the future!
Except … well … mobile ads have razor-thin margins. And the only way to make razor-thin margins work is to expand scale. Unfortunately, Facebook seems pretty close to saturation. To put it simply, Facebook’s business can be summed up pretty much like this: It relies on ads. Increasingly, those ads are mobile-based. Mobile ads suck.
The bottom line: I’d recommend logging off Facebook — whether you’re a user or stock-picker. You have better things to do with your time and money.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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