This has been on my mind all day, and since it is our last blog post, I felt that it would be appropriate to write about it, and I will tie this into Facebook/social networks a little as well.
I live only 30 minutes away from Newtown, CT, and I cannot even begin to imagine what that community is going through, let alone the families of those who lost loved ones. This is a tragedy of enormous proportions, and it is so hard to imagine what the people who were affected by this were going through. This has been the only thing on the news all day, the only thing people around where I live are talking about, and it is bound to be on the cover of the New York Times tomorrow, and rightly so. It has sparked much debate over the second amendment, but I think that this transcends any gun laws. There have been way too many occurrences like this in recent history, and the horrifying thought is that there is no solution to it. In my opinion, it really isn’t a gun problem; it is a human problem. It is terrifying to know that things like this do happen, and that stricter gun control wouldn’t solve anything because sick, deranged people, it seems, will always be able to find a way to do what they set out to do. This has really hit home that much harder for me since it took place only a couple towns over from where I live.
Needless to say, in today’s world, any story of this scale will become a huge thing on social networks. The only thing on my Facebook and Twitter feeds all day has been people posting about this tragedy and expressing condolences to those affected. Another thing that has occurred on Facebook is that the brother of the gunman started to update his Facebook page explaining that it was not him, that he was at work, and seemingly was using Facebook to serve as his alibi for when the cops came to question him.
Another part of this that reached social networks took place on twitter. There is an account @Ryan_Lanza that has blown up on Twitter. It is the account of a teenage kid that happens to have the same name as the gunman’s, brother, and hundreds of people have starting following him and tweeting at him, many wondering if it was his account. It is amazing to see how fast word spreads and how quickly it takes over social networking sites.
There is no other word to describe today’s events than tragic. Things like this just shouldn’t happen. It is a horrific tragedy and my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.
I wanted to use this blog post to really help me assemble my thoughts on my presentation. When dealing with Facebook’s IPO, it is important to first understand why a company would want to go public in the first place. There are many reasons why a company would go public, but here are the three I found to be the most important. First, going public gives liquidity to the employees of a company. It makes their once private stocks public, thus enabling them to get cash for them when they want to. Another important reason that a company would want to go public is so that a value is established for the business. Once it has gone public, there is no longer any debate about the company’s worth. There is a set net worth for the company based on the amount of stocks and each stock’s price. The third reason for why a company would want to go public is because it establishes a currency for the company, which can be used to buy other companies, for mergers, acquisitions, and other such deals. What establishing a currency means is basically that the company’s stock becomes a currency, which can be used in order to buy other companies. These are the main reasons why any company would want to go public, and this certainly applies to Facebook’s situation. There is also the fact that the only way Facebook was making money was through advertisements on their website. This was significant to the value of Facebook, but by going public, they were able to raise a large chunk of capital for the company’s future endeavors. Although it raised billions of dollars through the IPO, it was still considered an unsuccessful IPO by many people. How is this so? First of all, the lead underwriter for the IPO, Morgan Stanley, set an initial price for the stock way too high. When a stock goes public, the lead underwriter’s job is to poll the market, and to figure out where people value the company going public and what they would be willing to pay for the price of the stock. They polled institutional investors, along with figuring out how much demand there is from individuals as well. Apparently, Morgan Stanley didn’t do their homework as well as they should have because the price of the stock plummeted after going public. The main reason I see that they overvalued it so much is probably because there was nothing that they could really compare Facebook’s stock to. When a car company or any other company goes public, a good way to gauge the initial asking price is by the price of other businesses similar to them. In Facebook’s case this wasn’t really a possibility because there was nothing quite like Facebook. So, the IPO was considered unsuccessful by many because it showed that Facebook was not nearly as valued as many people thought, along with the fact that it soured the tech market for a long time after the IPO.
Since I plan on doing my Ignite presentation on Facebook’s IPO, its stocks trend since then, and relating this to how Twitter prepares for their IPO, and I have done a prior blog post on Facebook’s IPO, I want to take a close look at how twitter’s CFO and the rest of the company prepare for an eventual public offering. These two companies are very much alike in that they are very popular social networking sites that attract millions. Facebook is obviously much larger than Twitter, but Twitter is growing rapidly. In fact, according to a CNN article, it was a Twitter user in Pakistan that broke the news first. Examples like this show how big Twitter is and how it is becoming a social networking site that connects the world, much like how Facebook does. Twitter will want to look at reasons why Facebook’s IPO failed and how they can plan for a more successful one. Twitter’s goal is to go public by 2014, although the company’s CEO has said the IPO is “way out” in the future. Fortunately for Twitter, the talk about them already is that their IPO will likely be extremely successful, for many reasons. First, Twitter has seen enormous growth in recent years, and this trend is expected to not only continue, but increase by the time of their IPO, according to this same CNN article, (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/10/22/twitters-ipo-not-facebooks-will-define-social/) . “Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed that his company had hit 400 million tweets per day, up from 200 million just 11 months earlier. That growth has prompted financial gains, even as the company’s revenue model remains a work in progress. According to research firm eMarketer, Twitter’s revenue will likely hit $288.3 million this year, and then jump to $545.2 million in 2013. By the end of 2014, the figure will soar to $807.5 million.” Another reason that it is expected they will have a successful IPO and just be a successful business in general is because they have “found a way to monetize mobile users. So-called sponsored Tweets — messages paid for by advertisers — are more easily present on tiny cell phones screens. By 2014, it could generate $444.1 million from smartphones and tablets, according to eMarketer.” Facebook has not been able to make money from mobile users, which has certainly hurt their stock. It is clear that Twitter seems to be a company that will have much more success when they go public, it is just not certain yet when this will actually happen. However long it may take, the company will eventually go public.
For this week’s blog post, I wanted to look at the role Facebook has taken in professional sports in America. Not surprisingly, every professional sports team that I searched for in the MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA has a Facebook page. Why would these teams feel a need to have a Facebook page? First of all, it is a place to generate more support for their team. Facebook has grown to be a part of millions of Americans daily lives. Professional sports teams are businesses, and they realize this trend of ever expanding Facebook and want to exploit it in order to get the most support, which in turn leads to more revenues, and ultimately, more success on the playing field. Let’s look at the Boston Red Sox as an example. In terms of the business end of their Facebook page, one of the first things you see on it is a tab where you can purchase tickets and view their schedule. This makes it much easier than having to go on sites such as stub hub, because it is all on Facebook and just a few clicks away. There are also many times on their newsfeed that they advertise ways that a lucky fan could win free seats to a game. The Red Sox, like many other professional sports teams, also utilize Facebook to create a positive public image for themselves, and show how they are involved in the community. One example of this can be seen in their newsfeed where the title of a status was Red Sox serve dinner at New England Center for Homeless Veterans. Another similar status was The Red Sox take part in the Greater Boston Food Bank’s Chain of Giving. Being involved in events like this certainly make for a positive public image and make them appear to be very likeable. Being likeable can only lead to more fans, more success, and more money, which in the end is what it all comes down to, whether that’s a good thing or not. Of course they do things to try and entice new people to become fans and follow them, but they also provide information for the long time fans, such as myself. The status of players, their contracts, and other such things that matter for the upcoming season are constantly updated on their page to keep their audience informed on what they are doing and the direction the team is going in. Professional sports teams really do use Facebook to its full advantage in order to improve their own organizations.
After the election, I found an interesting article about the effects of the outcome on Mitt Romney’s Facebook page. In this Washington Post Article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/11/09/mitt-romney-losing-facebook-friends-by-the-minute) the author, Caitlin Dewey, writes “Mitt Romney is losing 593 friends per hour – at least on Facebook today from 10 to 11 a.m. You can loiter on his page and watch them plummet by the second.” ‘Today’ refers to November 9th. I was very surprised to see this, if only for the fact that I wondered why people would even take the time to “defriend” him after having lost the election. Right after I read this, and before I continued on in the article, a reason I thought of for why people would “defriend” him (or just unlike his page, which is what I did) is because of the amount of traffic liking a figure like him causes in ones newsfeed. Before the election (I shared this in an earlier blogpost) I liked both candidates Facebook pages to see how much they advertised for their campaign. It turned out to be a whole lot, with both of them posting pictures and other such things to try and build up themselves or tear down the other. All of this seemed way too much, and especially now that the election is over, and Romney is no longer in the picture, it makes sense for so many to “defriend” him or unlike his page. However, to my surprise, the article suggests that it is the opposite reason for why people acted in this way. She writes, “That radio silence could explain why Mitt’s followers have been so quick to jump ship”. This proves my initial reaction to be completely wrong, showing that people do want tons of information coming up in their newsfeed, and when that information is not provided they become frustrated and immediately stop following this person. I guess I am in the minority of thinking there was too much political campaigning happening on social networking sites, such as Facebook. Also, it is not written in the article, but I would guess that Obama’s victory only caused thousands more to like his page because they want to see how he continues to utilize social media via Facebook during the next four years of his presidency. My guess is that he will be less active on Facebook now that he is assured another four years, but it is hard to tell how people will act on Facebook as it continues to grow dramatically and revolutionize social networks.
After watching the Social Network, there are a few things that are on my mind still from our discussion in class. I have seen this movie several times, but after having the post-viewing discussion in class, I have started to have some new insights and thoughts about what the writers were really portraying to the viewer that I haven’t had before. First, I thought it was interesting talking about the different angles the movie was getting at while it went back and forth between the two different law suits. The lawsuit between Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg depicts the more personal side of the whole situation, while the lawsuit between the Winklevoss twins is more about the ideas behind the founding of Facebook, and seemingly wrongful allegations brought forwards against Mark. Although both do have to do with events that actually happened with the founding of Facebook, there is a more much personal tone in the lawsuit with Eduardo. One example of this is when Eduardo turns to Mark and says, “I was your only friend”, showing that he felt completely betrayed and hurt, beyond the monetary part of the situation. There is also the line showing Mark’s sympathy towards Eduardo, when they talk about the article in the Crimson about Eduardo with the chicken, and Mark’s lawyer says that he did not want this to even become part of the evidence in the case. There is also the fact that Mark seems more attentive and cares more in the scenes with Eduardo, unlike in some of the meetings with the Winklevoss twins where he is doodling in his notebook, and even tells their lawyer that he does not even deserve Mark’s full attention during the meetings.
Another part of our discussion that I continued to think about a little after was the differences we saw between Mark and Sean Parker. I think the scene in the club with those two is where the writers really want us to see that they are much different people. When Mark asks Sean if he ever thinks about that girl from high school, he responds like it was a dumb question to even ask, while it is clear that Mark always thinks about Erica, and that they are much different people with different mindsets, values, and goals for the future. I thought this movie was very well done, and I certainly thought it was worth our time to watch it in class and discuss.
Since we are watching the Social Network next week, I thought an interesting thing to blog about this week would be Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts on his portrayal in his movie. After watching this movie the first time, my guess was that Zuckerberg would not be happy with the way he was portrayed in the movie. He seemed to be extremely arrogant, and was portrayed as not really having the most proper ethics a person running a business should have. He was also shown to not be personable at all, as seen in the scene in the very beginning of the movie when his girlfriend leaves him.
In the movie, the makers of the movie make it seem like he created Facebook just to help his chances with girls and become a popular kid at a prestigious school. His response to this, in an article about his thoughts on the movie, was “They [the film’s creators] just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.” This is interesting because it shows that he is a truly motivated person, which is apparent in the success he has had in his life with the Facebook. Although he disagrees with how they portray him as to why he created the company, he and his company have been careful not to criticize the movie. “Facebook has previously been careful not to attack The Social Network, a strategy which had appeared to pay dividends. The film has certainly done nothing to harm the company’s position as the world’s pre-eminent website of its type.” I’m sure if the Social Network had been detrimental to people’s perception of the company the Zuckerberg would have strongly expressed his problems with the movie and how they portrayed him and the company, but because it didn’t have a negative affect there was no real reason to cause bad press by making a big stink about the movie. He does accept the fact that he was a little self-centered when he was forming the company, but he does make it clear that he hopes people don’t think he is still the same way when he says, “I think a lot people will look at that stuff, you know, when I was 19, and say, ‘Oh, well, he was like that … He must still be like that, right?’”. Basically, he does reject his portrayal, but doesn’t have a huge problem with the movie.
I recently read an article that had to do with a data breach that took place on Facebook. Basically, the article discusses how a “security enthusiast” named Suriya Prakash was browsing through Facebook on his phone when he discovered an option called ‘Find Friends’ (This option was also recently available on instagram, but no longer is, which goes along with the rest of this blog post). This option enabled him (and anybody else who know about it) to “search a random phone number to view someone’s full profile”, which is really quite scary to think about. Facebook eventually caught on to what was happening, and blocked the script he was using that allowed him to view hundreds of accounts just by entering a persons’ phone number. This option is no longer even available, to the best of my knowledge, and it is because Facebook is making attempts to improve security and privacy measures on the social networking site. It is, however, very scary that this was even an option in the first place. Mobile Facebook was basically making anybody’s account available to the world, which should never have even been an option in the first place, but luckily this was taken care of rather quickly. Although it was taken down quickly, it was still an option for long enough that thousands of accounts could have been accessed. This article talks about how just one person was able to access hundreds of accounts, so imagine how many other people would have been able to do the same thing while this ‘Find Friends’ option was available on Mobile Facebook.
Another thing I came across while reading this article is something that we have discussed a few times in class. “Facebook’s privacy settings are confusing so most people haven’t adequately protected themselves”. This is very true, as we all have agreed for the most part, and it is something that Facebook needs to work on to make their company and site more user friendly, and catered to what people want, which is privacy from the rest of the world. Facebook probably makes it difficult to follow their privacy settings at first and has the defaults as public as possible because they want as much information to be shared as possible, but I think it is up to the users how their information is made available and who it is available to.
Here’s the link to this brief article. <http://hothardware.com/News/Facebook-Confirms-Massive-Data-Breach-and-Vulnerability/>
After reading through the article that Krit recently posted in our Facebook group, I thought this could be an interesting thing to blog about for this week. First of all, I think Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Office, is very accurate in saying that “Mobile is a huge opportunity for Facebook”. I know that for myself personally, 9 times out of 10 that I check Facebook, I do so on my phone. I think this is a growing trend for millions of Facebook users, and Facebook needs to adapt in order to speed up monetization and keep up with trends in their business. Their need to adapt, as expressed in the article, is basically them needing to put more ads into people’s mobile news feeds, something that I’m sure many people would not be so thrilled about. Reading through a newsfeed on a mobile phone now is great because it is only stories of your friends that come up, and not useless ads that just get in the way. But in the article they make a point of saying that they will put ads “into user’s news feeds in a way that gives marketers a ‘great return’ and continues to drive engagement”. Useless advertisements could push people away from Facebook, or at least cause some frustration among users, but they make it clear that they would use ads that “continue to drive engagement”. Using people locations via their phones could be utilized in order for ads to be specific to people’s locations, such as restaurants, movie theaters, or other such things. It would also be important for these mobile ads to not interfere with the fluidity the current mobile Facebook has for all its users. However, they cannot focus too strongly on ads and making money because “MySpace ultimately failed because it focused too much on making money while underinvesting in R&D”.
Does Facebook really help us to connect with people and form stronger relationships with all of our “friends” on Facebook? After looking at everyone’s Facebook page in our class (sorry for a little Facebook stalking), the combined number of Facebook friends is right around 10,000. Fifteen of us really can have a combined 10,000 friends? To me, this shows how Facebook has grown an absurd amount since it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, and it is clearly not a way for people to have intimate “friendships” on this social networking site. Granted, everyone is obviously Facebook friends with their closest friends in real life so this is the rare example of a meaningful Facebook friendship, but other than that, I am sure people who have a thousand friends or more rarely ever talk to half of them, maybe even more. I know this is certainly true for me. I feel like I would accept a friend request from anyone who I went to high school with, and now that we are at Princeton I accept friend requests from anyone on the Princeton network, even if I don’t know them well at all. It is very hard to say reject a friend request. If you think about it this way, Facebook stalking isn’t really a sketchy thing at all, rather what Facebook is all about. I know that countless times throughout the day when my news feed is refreshed, stories about people who I haven’t talked to in years comes up and every once in a while I check out the person’s profile and see what they have been up to, where they go to school, if they’re in a relationship, etc. In this way, Facebook does help us connect with people and stay up to date with what our peers, old friends, and other are up to in their lives, but Facebook certainly is not a way to form stronger relationships with people anymore, seeing as that is has exploded and is used by 500 million people around the world. This translates to 1 in 13 people, an incredible percentage of the population that is using this social networking site. It is much more than a place to share information with friends. At this point, all of Facebooks users are sharing their information with the world. To me, as I’m sure many people agree, this is a very scary thing to be so exposed in todays technological world.