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Archive for October 25th, 2007

Facebook, the beginning of the end?

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Just this morning in the NPD meeting, I was talking about how eventually even the behemoth Facebook will lose its cool and kids will flee it for greener pastures of the next great thing.

Though I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet, or will anytime soon, I did laugh when I saw this Business Week article today that says Microsoft bought a $240 million chunk of the company, which puts its value in the, oh, $15 billion range. (More about the news.)

It’s good news for Microsoft, which beat out Google for the 1.6 percent share, but as I told the ME when I pointed the story out: This partnership with king-of-the-less-than-hip Microsoft could be the first kiss of death for a company that relies on its cool factor to hold the attention of Generation-Permanently-Distracted.

If not that, this: “Zuckerberg, 23, wants to take Facebook public at some point.” There’s something cool about the site precisely because it started as a college kid’s idea to link up with peers. Though it’s cool to be part of something that big, what really makes it a sticky site is that it seems small and personal. Your network is who you know, and who they know, and who may be in your class or in your city. But it’s defined and not really a free for all. Going public seems like opening some floodgates that I’m not sure wouldn’t wash away some of the roots holding kids down there. It’s not like there isn’t a plethora of other options around that could just as easily become the next big trend. Who knows?

But there’s the rub. Nobody knows. Facebook could continue to innovate, stay ahead and predict the turns in preference and consumption of the kids it’s pandering to. So maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my kids and my kids’ kids will still be posting on their friends’ walls when I’m old and complaining about how “back in my day, we had these CDs and if you so much as sneezed the disk would scratch.” And I’ll be wishing when Facebook had its IPO I’d cashed in. But at the rate it’s going, Facebook’s a bit too rich for my blood.