Don’t Like Facebook

John Ransom
Posted: May 18, 2012 12:01 AM

Since it’s Friday, and there is a Facebook IPO scheduled to go off today, I feel obliged to write the standard “Why I hate the latest IPO” column.

Don’t get me wrong.

I think IPOs are great.

They are great job creators, first of all. Lots of the money raised by IPOs goes into hiring lots more people.

And an IPO’s liquidity event- where early stage investors get to cash in on the open market- is the reason why those investors took the risk in the first place. One of the major benefits of having stock markets like the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ is to give early-stage investors a way to cash out of their investment eventually.

And the money raised by the IPO generally goes to business expansion, which means more jobs, more revenue, more profits and higher value.

That’s makes the Facebook IPO not just a social media event, but a socially responsible event.

But I still hate the Facebook IPO.

I work in digital media. I believe in digital media. “Dotcom bubble” aren’t dirty words for me.

An industry was created in that bubble; an industry that has revolutionized society and will continue to revolutionize society as much as the industrial revolution did.

I’m sorry that too many people misunderstood that just applying the appellation .com to, say, a commonplace item, like dog food- and ending up with a business named wasn’t revolutionary, but rather a satire on what is wrong with bringing small, commonplace minds to big concepts like .com. But that’s just the small change of revolution.

And Facebook isn’t a business. It really is revolutionary.

But I still I hate the Facebook IPO?

I really, really do.

That doesn’t mean I’m a Facebook hater.

In fact, I love Facebook.

I would go so far as to say that Facebook made the Tea Party possible.

When I was growing up there was in every city about a dozen people who decided in each city what made the news and what was ignored. There were three TV news station, two newspapers and a handful of radio stations. And that was it.

The dozen people who decided what to air, or print, or broadcast controlled the news in every city, they made or broke people. 

Dotcoms, like, have broken up that monopoly.

But it was only when conservatives got organized on social media outlets like Facebook that niche communities like the Tea Party, 912 groups, the Patriot Movement, could find and organize members both locally and nationally for direct political action.

That’s been an important part of educating people about the futility of the Obama regime’s economic measure. It’s the difference between the working-class hero worship that attended FDR and the pang that voters feel toward Obama today.

It’s no longer important just to be eloquent and backed by the liberal press. It’s no longer enough just to have the technocrats and scientists and the professional classes on your side.

Today you have to have substance.

There are more people in the population who didn’t go to the right schools, who don’t belong to the Paris Club exercising a commonsense restraint on political class- at least here in the U.S.     

And because Facebook allows people like us to organize into real communities- communities that could replace geographic entities, like cities and states and even countries over a long period of time- change is coming whether we like it or not.

I like it actually.

For the first time in my lifetime, there is real, substantive debate about the size and scope of government, what the constitution means. And if people don’t recognize how the internet has made that possible by reducing the cost of communications so that it is affordable for everyone, then they are missing THE story of this short century.

Andy Warhol was wrong.

In the future all of us will be famous for much longer than 15 minutes.

And Facebook, in part, makes that possible.

I love that.

But revolutionaries have a tendency too often to loose their head. So I’d never consider buying the Facebook IPO anymore than I’d try buying any other social revolution.

And that’s the key: Facebook is revolutionary.

But is it a business?

Not yet.  

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