What’s In it for Facebook?

Facebook is huge:  they brag about a user count well north of one hundred million.  If only 0.5% of their users are active that’s 500,000 concurrent users.  That is a large number.  How many expensive servers does it take to support such a load?  How much does Facebook shell out for bandwidth?  What does it cost them to house the stables of twenty-something web programmers required to keep their pages up and humming?  Here’s a hint for all you, information wants to be free,” socialists out there; it’s not free!

Sites like Facebook blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars every month just so you can tag your friends, play silly games and post pictures of your pets.  Here’s an old guy question; what’s in it for Facebook? 

Do any of you seriously think Facebook is doing this for the good of mankind?  Well,  I hate to harsh your mellow,  but nobody,  and I mean absolutely nobody,  does anything for the good of mankind.  There is always payment in some form.  The form varies.  I prefer cash; it’s crass; it’s direct and it’s bullshit free.  The downside: there can be tax liabilities.  Maybe you prefer payment in the form of  self delusions:   “I’m doing all this volunteer work because I am a good person.”  Perhaps you take Mother Teresa accolades, adulation and Nobel Peace Prizes,  (going to murders and charlatans these days),  and if you are a class A numnut that ultimate noncash payment:  The Order of Canada.  Live in Canada long enough,  sticking to your politically correct guns,  and it’s yours for the taking.

Getting back to those silly Facebook games and pet pictures.  Every time you boot one of these irritants it asks if it can rip your name and contact information.  You want to play so you press yes.  With a mouse click another marketer gains access your email, name, address and friend list.  Then the silly game runs and you divulge more of yourself to perfect strangers that are spending long hours programming diversions for the good of mankind.

I don’t care if some random manufacturer of crap learns that my favorite color is purple: ancient royalty you know.  They may send me some purple junk email that will be mutilated by my spam terminators.  But I am one among millions.  If the same email goes out to millions a few may respond in the warm cashy way marketers seek.  Facebook is gigantic indirect marketing and data mining operation that pays the bills by parceling out user information to third parties.  These parties are selling everything from soap to politicians.  This is what’s in it for Facebook.

I haven’t seen Facebook’s books so I don’t know if this is a sound business or another venture capital delusion that will implode when the money runs out.  Time will soon tell.  In the meanwhile here is some Facebook advice.

  1. Google your name.  If your Facebook page shows on the first page be very careful about what you post.  Employers are now searching social networks when screening potential employees. They will be thrilled to hear about how you puked all over the late night buffet while climbing down from your last crack high.
  2. Facebook friends are not necessarily real friends. Does anyone have 718 real flesh and blood friends?  Nobody is that popular.  Nobody wants to be that popular.
  3. The more silly games, groups and postings you deploy the deeper and thicker your on-line profile becomes.  All this crap, be honest it’s mostly crap, might outlive you.  Do you really want your epitaph to read: Iced 1,724 in Mafia Wars.

Have I harshed your Facebook mellow?