The big news all day today is going to be the Facebook IPO – and of course you would expect the media to care. UPDATE: Here is my interview with CBS News about the Facebook IPO …
Lots of "virtual" money is going to be changing hands, there will be nonstop media coverage throughout the day. To help you navigate the coverage, I figured I would take a stab at segmenting it into the five media "takes" on the story that you will likely see throughout the day:
- The "Social Media Is Too Shiny" Take: We are totally in the midst of a bubble and Facebook is the poster child for unfounded social media hype.
- The "Zuck's A Genius" Take: Facebook has the biggest IPO ever … let's all imagine Mark Zuckerburg celebrating with a cigar in his solid gold hot tub.
- The Dangerous Future Take: In order really to succeed, Facebook will need to figure out privacy/leadership/usability/regulation/global warming/[insert issue here]
- The "How High Can It Go?" Take: Why not turn the coverage into a predictive game and just have people predict the closing share price and when they should buy? My prediction, by the way, on www.facebookipodayclosingprice.com/ was $48 for a closing price of $ 120,638,935,248
- The Facebook Will Save Us Take: And what kind of media coverage would be complete without the optimistic predictions about how Facebook will save California/entrepreneurship/ technology/social media/cute kittens in trees/etc.
Of course, aside from the predictable media story lines is a question that I think should be more important to anyone with a marketing background … why do we care so much? Only a fraction of us watching the coverage today will actually be in the market to try and purchase some shares, yet we will watch. Is it merely the historic size of the IPO? No, I think the real reason is something more fundamental.
We all have a personal connection to Facebook. We all use it, and not just as a "user" of Coke drinks a can once in a while. We rely on it to manage many of our personal relationships and share our memories. Facebook is more than a social network, it is a utility – like water.
And so for many people its IPO is as if someone put oxygen itself on the stock exchange and asked you to buy shares of it. You might not have enough money to participate, but you sure hope whoever does won't mess up the utility that you depend on.