Saturday, May 19, 2012

Facebookers of the World, Unite!

You have nothing to lose but your "Like" button!

Ah, Ezra Klein, you puling little tool, you never fail to provide the blogfodder...

Woke up this morning to more weather and Indy 500 stuff on the local news, but weekend mornings MSNBC reruns Rachel Maddow on Saturdays and Chris Matthews on Sundays, and that's almost always guaranteed to purge my bile ducts and clear my spleen vents, and this morning was no exception.

I only caught the end of the Maddow show, guest-hosted by Ezra Klein (it took me a second, but their glasses are different), and tuned in just in time to see him calling for us lowly workers in Zuckerberg's dark, Satanic FarmVille to seize the means of production:
You and I and millions of other people create the content that gives Facebook value when we post pictures, send messages, "like" things, share things, play games, and change our relationship statuses. Facebook gives us a way to do that, and we the public, hundreds of millions of us, give Facebook value. We make it a $100 billion company.

But it’s the insiders who get the cash-money out of that value. It’s not, in the main, your aunt or uncle who hopped on the Web and bought a couple of shares today. It’s Bono and his investment partners. ... It’s the rich, now getting that much richer.

Don't you get it? It was only sheer luck that allowed Bono to invest venture capital in Facebook! Why, if you or I had accidentally written "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" or "Miss Sarajevo" one morning before breakfast, then we might have had $90,000,000 in spare change lying around to front Zuckerberg, et al to kick start their social network and it would be Bono who was stuck out in the cold and starving.

I will note that since Ezra Klein almost certainly pulls down close to a hundred times my annual income and continually fails to send me a check, he's a big fat hypocrite. Remember: "The Rich" = "Anyone Who Makes More Than Me". How about it, Ezra? Where's my dough?

The idea that this garbage still sells in a world that has already traveled the historical arc from the storming of the Winter Palace to the fall of the Berlin Wall is just damned depressing. Rather than having to root out the last bolshevik holdouts from the cellars of the Lubyanka, we'll need to dig them out of the third floor of 30 Rock.


Borepatch said...

In all fairness, you can't really say that this garbage is "selling" - it's on MSNBC.


Tam said...


"In all fairness, you can't really say that this garbage is "selling" - it's on MSNBC."

Don't Pauline Kael yourself, BP. ;)

It's got more viewership during primetime than CNN.

The Raving Prophet said...

News flash to that idiot:

That's nothing any thinking person didn't know already. But there's more facets to this:

1) No single person's posts to Facebook, Twitter, or other site creates enough value in and of itself to amount to any countable amount of money. We haven't used ha'pennys in quite a while, and even if we would, at the inflation rates we're likely to see it would take a dump truck full to buy a piece of gum. Since a year's worth of social media content from the vast majority of users would barely even amount to that by itself, I'm content with not getting what mine is worth. Which brings us to #2...

2) The users gain a value from the service in excess of what their content is worth. Connecting with friends is worth more (generally) than the value added by the average person's content. You're getting back more than you put in.

3) The only way any of this is worth anything is due to scale- the content posted by a few thousand people is worth more together than it is separately. Sum of the whole being greater than the parts, etc. My content isn't worth much at all, neither is that of everybody else when taken as individuals. But put it together, and the data is suddenly rather valuable for mining.

Even so, I'm surprised that anybody is actually buying FB stock. Just because you can convince a bunch of people to use a service doesn't mean it's a profitable service to run. No profits, no dividends, and then the only way the stock is worth anything is if you can convince other idiots to buy it for more than you paid. I contend Facebook is going public not to raise capital, but so the founders can sell out before the whole thing comes crashing down and becomes valueless.

mikee said...

Don't envy Mr. Klein his status, wealth and readership.

Every day he wakes up and he is still Ezra Klein.

And you, thankfully, are not. Every single day.

Joseph said...

So they've turned on Bono now? I guess the Left has started to eat itself. Good.

Anonymous said...

it still amazes me that after verified chat logs of Zuckerberg openly and blatantly conspiring to and then actively screwing the people who hired him to create "Facebook", that he still has ownership of the damn thing.

that and him hacking into Harvard Univ. computers to get the initial dataset to populate Facebook. If Harvard had bothered to press charges, they would have had him six ways to Sunday on multiple charges under the Computer Fraud And Abuse act.

I've always wanted to believe that the old line from Balzac, "Behind every great fortune is a great crime" didn't apply to US high-tech businesses in this era, but damn if Zuckerberg isn't the poster boy for one old cranky yet observant Frenchie literati.

after this stuff became public knowledge, I have no idea why people would trust this guy with keys to a TSA-approved luggage lock, much less your entire life, digitized.

my hope is that Facebook simply fails to monetize and then gets leapfrogged.

I am perfectly willing to pay money upfront (and already do) if it means getting services that are not designed to monetize me instead of, say, a mostly spamless email service.

The Jack said...

If Ezra really hates the Facebooks well... he doesn't have to use it.

Seriously, there's no "Social Media Mandate" he can keep on trucking and push for his viewers to abandon the service and maybe try to have MSNBC pull any sponsorship of what have.

Though I can see Ezra also pulling for congressional investigation into "predatory meme posting".

Maybe he could have Face Book go all Myspace, and replace it with Ezra's more "equitable" means where each poster owns the means of production.

You know, split that IPO among every user. Though I suspect that if Ezra had his own Social Media page he'd be just as stingy with that money as he is at hitting Tam's tip jar.

Ritchie said...

Most people who want "everyone to pay their fair share" had best sit down and do some serious arithmetic. Then there's that whole "fair" thing. Children are very concerned with fairness, being wholly dependent on others. Echo, dude?

NotClauswitz said...

Facebook is so AOl-1997... Value? Hahahaha!

SiGraybeard said...

Rather than having to root out the last bolshevik holdouts from the cellars of the Lubyanka, we'll need to dig them out of the third floor of 30 Rock.

I'd settle for getting them out of the White House.

steve l said...

It's got more viewership during primetime than CNN.

kinda low bar there, roughly analogous to being more indian than Lizzie Warren

Tam said...

steve l,

"kinda low bar there"

Haha only no. Second place out of the three cable news networks: Center right FOX, center left CNN, or progressive MSNBC...

That means that a substantial number of primetime news viewers think CNN is too right-wing.

Tam said...


"I'd settle for getting them out of the White House."

If you don't burn the nest, they'll be right back in the next election cycle. ;)

Aaron said...

Funny, its the guys on his side of the fence that stop the average mom, pop uncle and auntie from investing venture capital in the initial stages before they go public and thus stop them from both probably losing their shirts but also from reaping such high returns.

Look up the "accredited investor" rules that prevents anyone from investing in such risky start ups unless they have a million dollars in net worth, not including their primary residence. That rule was put in place starting in 1933, but the increase in qualification amounts and the residence exclusion were just added under Dodd-Frank to keep ordinary people out of these investments. You know, for their own protection.

It's a little hard to rail against the lack of ordinary people to get in on such an opportunity when its your own side's policies that's stopping them from doing so. But then again, Klein and friends don't seem to have an issue with that.

NotClauswitz said...

Two words: Steve Case.

Sigivald said...

What Prophet said, especially #2.

People who don't understand that users gain value from the service - evidently like Mr. Klein - are never going to understand any damned thing.

(Does he not understand that it's not posts that create the value to Facebook itself, but the demographic and content cues that let them target advertisements?

That's all Facebook is from a business point of view - an advertisement targeting and delivery platform.

In exchange for those ads - which hopefully match our desires such that they're actually useful or interesting! - we get all the other stuff we actually care about for free.)