The Facebook IPO happens tomorrow, and I have a question for my readers: If you use Facebook, are you still spending as much time on it as you did last year?

I was talking to a young Facebook user recently and asked if her new obsession with Instagram had come at the cost of Facebook time. Her answer was yes, and I got the sense that Facebook was for old people and Instagram was for the young. Ouch.

Instagram is a brilliant business concept. It strips out the best part of Facebook (Hey, look at my photo, friends!) and then makes improvements on that feature (Hey, look at my sepia-toned photos, friends!). In addition to besting the best part of Facebook, Instagram also improved on the worst part of Facebook: sketchy privacy. While a parent might ban a kid from Facebook for privacy reasons, Instagram is relatively less of a privacy issue. The keyword here is "relatively," since either service lets you post dumb comments and incriminating photos of yourself.

It's no wonder Facebook threw a billion dollars at Instagram, apparently to kill the competition by absorption. If I were Zuckerberg, and I noticed young people migrating from Facebook to Instagram just as I prepared for my IPO, I'd spend a billion dollars to make the problem go away too. I wonder if Instagram would have sold for something closer to $100 million if Facebook had already done its IPO. Timing is everything.

Readers of this blog, are you using Facebook less this year than you did last year?

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Jun 8, 2012
Don't you mean- "We moist robots (also known as humans) ...."
May 19, 2012
more important than if I use facebook, is whether my 16 yo daughter uses it. For the teen crowd she runs in, facebook is like ms word. a tool. No longer the obsession, but used every day. the new passion is tumblr, with video links and witty comments on popular culture. Facebook IPO should have gone up 15 months ago. I think instagram is not that big a deal. Based on teenagers and eraly adopters at work, the cool new stuff is Tumblr for literary blogger types, and spotify for music.
May 19, 2012
I find that I use it less and less. I post an occasional photo of the kids for family. When I have downtime I check FB with my phone. I used to use Instagram, but I lost interest when FB bought them. I was never into the FB games and I have most of my FB "friends" hidden so that I only follow the news of a handful of people. I have stripped most of the personal details off my page.

I now take photos with Camera (superior to Instagram!) and send real postcards to family with Postagram.
May 19, 2012
Face book is just a waste of time... I never really used a profile. I don't like the idea of having to sensor mine, or anyone elses posts... The whole thing is 1984 creepy.

Face book is, Big brother...
May 18, 2012
I care so little about Facebook now that I deleted my account. I liked the original version (back in 2004) but I found it got more and more invasive.
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2012

My Facebook journey:

I joined several years ago after a friend told me that my then 11-year-old son was posting updates at 2am. It seemed like the responsible thing to do. I did not do much with it until about two years ago. After a while, I realized I had several friends who were quite active. Their updates and comments were lively and engaging. I began posting more about beekeeping misadventures - and other updates on my several unconventional hobbies. It was fun.

Lately? Not so much. I'm now "friends" with a couple of clients and more than a few unstable relatives. I know I can control who sees what posts - but that is a lot of work. It just isn't as much fun. Everyone seems much more aware of the larger audience. My oldest son has shares some very funny stories on occasion - and it is fun to see the interaction with his friends - but teens are much, much more reserved in what they share these days than a few years ago.

Plus - knowing that everything you do is making money for someone else is a bit of a disincentive on its own.

It's nice a nice way to keep track of big events in people's lives: whose kid is getting married, who just retired, etc. but it has begun to feel like another social obligation rather than a place to relax and have fun with friends.
May 18, 2012
I go on it more than I used to, but now it is more for promoting my new novel, 'Trial of Tears'.
May 18, 2012
I don't use Facebook as much as I did when I first created my account. I do the majority of my internet usage at work since I spent all day sitting at a desk in front of a computer. I take little breaks from working to check the stock market, news, read this blog Etc.That was when I could access Facebook from my work computer. Facebook is blocked by my employer as well as are other social media sites. I work for a fairly large company. I while back I recieved a global email from some the HR department about some company relate BS. At the end of the email it said "Follow Us On Facebook" and had a link to our Facebook page. Of course I can't check out my own companies Facebook page brecause they block Facebook. LOL!
May 18, 2012
Why can't I see my own comments on this blog unless I sign in? I can see most other peoples' comments.
May 18, 2012
Wow, I must be the only person who reads the Dilbert blog that clicks on ads and buys stuff... I've bought things on farmville (between my daughters and I, maybe $100 worth), and other games (probably anothing $100 worth), and I've bought clothes and accessories from the Steampunk and Star Trek related (targetted!) ads. I "liked" New Egg and a handful of other stores and occassionally find their sales & specials interesting. I wouldn't say that I dump a meaningful percentage of my income there, but over the past 5 years, I've probably spent between $500 and $1000 on things connected to Facebook.
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2012
Still using Facebook about as much as I did last year. I hadn't even heard of Instagram until this blog post. I'm 40, an engineer, and live in Scotland, if that makes any difference to the self-selecting survey results that come out of this...

What I don't get is that a company with (apparently) 100 million subscribers could be worth 100 billion dollars. That values each subscriber at $1,000 each, on average. That just doesn't seem right to me - there's no way I'll spend $1,000, even over several years, on anything that is advertised to me as a consequence of Facebook. And, of that 100 million, I'm probably in the upper half for usage (given how many of those accounts must be dormant), and the upper quarter for wealth. I get that my personal info is worth money to some people, but really, £1,000?
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2012
Facebook is 99% for attention !$%*!$% They're shallow and will move on.

Farmville is old, and it's what got a lot of people on Facebook.

The rest of us find it moderately useful but the constant "Somebody just looked at a photo of you, OMG!!!!" messages annoying.

Facebook as-is won't last much longer. People have seen it, done it, worn the t-shirt.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 18, 2012

The sight that will kill FaceBook, like FB did MySpace before it, is called "Pinterest."

Other social media sites, like bebo, twitter, orkut, friendster, ning, meetup, plaxo, badoo, classmates, google and myyearbook, will die off in 5-8 years as well. Look for something that requires less time, a shorter attention span, and seems free. Then just add a dash of kewl and support for every device ownable.

Linkedin might last, if they keep it strictly business and perhaps buyout CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com to enhance their brand service offerings.

If you've ever looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites, how many of those sites have you ever even heard about?
May 18, 2012
Not using facebook very much at all anymore. Way better things to waste my time on the internet these days.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 17, 2012
Ditto @mouffett. I hate walled gardens.
May 17, 2012
Am using Facebook more this year than last because I retired this year and my company gave me an iPad 3. Am trying to learn the new media.
+26 Rank Up Rank Down
May 17, 2012

If you aren't paying for it: You're not the customer, you're the product!
+8 Rank Up Rank Down
May 17, 2012
[I think the bigger thing for me is I have never clicked on an ad on a FaceBook page so there is never any revenue or purchasing from my account.]


The genius part of facebook is that you don't need to click on ads for them to make revenue from your account. If you use facebook by either liking things or listing music, hobbies, movies, etc. that you like, then facebook has access to that information. They also know your birthday and gender. Thus, they know, for example, that a 31 year old male is into comic books and indie rock (or whatever liked). Then, when you go to other places on the web, you may see an advert for Avengers that is based off your facebook post, without you even being logged into facebook. Likewise, facebook can see that if one million 25-34 year old males like comic books AND indie music, then this is very useful information to movie and record companies.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 17, 2012
I do not use FaceBook all that much. I think the bigger thing for me is I have never clicked on an ad on a FaceBook page so there is never any revenue or purchasing from my account. At one point somebody talked about the ads on FaceBook and I had to admit that I did not even notice there were ads there. I completely tuned them out. I am probably the worst kind of user for them. Somebody who takes computer resources and does not contribute a cent to their income stream. I guess I do not know enough on how FaceBook makes money from their service. Is it all ads?
May 17, 2012
On a similar note, how often do you see people (who are not exercising) walking around with white earbuds in their ears anymore. Apple was wise to move onto phones and tablets.

Ford & GM dominated their industry for about 70 years, IBM dominated its for about 40, Microsoft ruled the world for about 25 years, Google has been on top for about 10, and Facebook overtook MySpace about 5 years ago. Yet the P/E multiples at the time of initial domination seem to have trended in the opposite direction.

Disclaimer - this should not be construed as investment advice. (Just in case you are that rare person who might be tempted to take stock advice from a guy named AtlantaDude)
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