Facebook: Social tool or future spam marketing nightmare?
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 17:05
“I do this for you I do this for me. So I leave the game in my palm PSP. Girl put it on me slow like EST, make it rain make it storm make it clap for me,” says free-styled Stevie Johnson from his verse in the Spacesuit Junkies single “The Anthem” at a recent social gathering in San Carlos Park, to the delight of a few people around him. Johnson is a senior majoring in business management.
Due to recent success, including opening for Wiz Khalifa at Nest Fest and the buoyant response to the release of new album “Boom Box,” when Johnson logs onto his Facebook, he is assaulted from other up-and-coming rappers or DJs. “I had to start somewhere too. I wasn’t the type to do that. I’d rather let my music speak for myself,” Johnson said. “I respect the craft if you’re moving or motivated. But the artist has to demonstrate they’re doing it as more than a hobby.”
These entrepreneurs, who’ve sent material to Johnson, seem to have picked up on an emerging trend of spreading your message through Facebook. Janusz Zalewski, a professor of computer science at FGCU, said, “Facebook is a huge marketing tool, both for companies and for individuals, and this is its essential reason for existence.”
Mark Zuckerberg founded the company in 2004. He named Facebook after the book students were given at commencement of each academic year by their university to learn the names of other students. Facebook has over 483 million daily active users and is available in over 70 languages, including Pirate, a personal favorite.
Zuckerberg is planning to set the company public in an IPO (initial public offering) on May 18th for a sum that will validate Facebook at $75 to $100 billion dollars. On Feb. 1, when the company released their financials, the public learned Facebook produced $1 billion in profit last year, 85 percent of which derived from advertising and the remaining 15 percent from social gaming and other fees.
Brad Hobbs, BB&T professor of free enterprise and a professor of finance and economics at FGCU, claims it’s hard to project Facebook’s future. “Traditionally, it was a lot easier to measure physical assets of the company. Today, particularly in technology companies, it’s harder to know,” Hobbs said. “Their assets are not tangible assets, they’re intellectual property assets,” Hobbs said.
On April 9, Zuckerberg acquired Instagram, the internet fad of the moment, for $1 billion. Instagram allows for sharing of photos using multiple filters. Compared to other recent tech acquisitions, such as Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65 billion or $49 per user; or EBay’s acquisition of Skype for $2.6 billion which is $240 per user, Facebook’s $28 per user was a bargain.
Hobbs, who supports this move, believes the only way Facebook can stay competitive over time is to keep their users content. “Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel defined the term creative destruction, which applies to the tech industry as a whole. New technologies are constantly whipping out old technology,” Hobbs said.
“My best friend, who works as a photographer, has gone through the entire digital conversion. Instead of a working out of a dark room, he now works using an apple computer,” Hobbs said.
I’m very worried of the repercussions Facebook’s IPO and their acquisitions of new technologies may have on our future. While I am selective about what I post on my timeline, what is to stop Facebook from selling our information to a major corporation, or peddling it to one of their company divisions to beat quarterly estimates?
Even though Facebook was the first Internet company to offer privacy protection, will Facebook maintain their original values as the 21st century progresses? Or will my profile become a spam book for marketers like Johnson’s inbox is for up-and-coming musicians?
As to the future of the Spacesuit Junkies, Johnson plans to hit Atlanta this summer with Plex, the other member of the group, to further his connections. Johnson is working to transform Spacesuit Junkies into an idea synonymous with success. “The hope is to be at the top of music spectrum. We want to be similar to Black Star. Independent, but still get respect from major labels,” Johnson said.