Price Tag

Oscar Wilde once said, “What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” In many ways, I believe this statement applies to the cost of Facebook. In class it was pointed out when the product or service is free, you are the cost or product that is being sold. The argument goes that it doesn’t cost any money to sign up, yet Facebook just made $3.7B last year and announced its IBO of $5B. The way Facebook made all this money was by advertising its 900 million users to various companies. The cost of using Facebook is a couple of dollars a year; however the value that Facebook provides far surpasses that.

 The greatest value Facebook provides for me is the ability to stay in contact with friends in other states and across the world. Before Facebook, the only way to keep up with friends was through the phone or physically visiting them. With Facebook, you can visually keep up with your friends through status updates, pictures, videos, and chat. Whether it is a good thing or not, Facebook provides the illusion that you are in someway part of each other lives. To me, the value of feeling connected to people half way across the world is priceless.

When you deal with cost and value, it is never that simple. The cost is not just the money they make from you, but the pictures, videos, messages, and everything they own. The cost is annoying friends, pictures and updates that can prevent companies from hiring you, spam, etc. While I can see that for some people the costs outweigh the value, I believe for the majority the opposite is the case. And the value that it provides is worth far more than the cost per year.


~ by digitalamericathebeautiful on May 4, 2012.

One Response to “Price Tag”

  1. While I can see that for some people the costs outweigh the value, I believe for the majority the opposite is the case. And the value that it provides is worth far more than the cost per year.

    Why do you believe this? Perhaps because “the majority” trades any traditional value it might have as a mass of people for the intensification of value that is generated when they can communicate with a highly specified group.

    Put it this way: In the “old days” a group of people felt their value as a mass of democrats, republicans, union workers, communists, etc.

    Minorities (blacks, women, gays, asians…) emerged from within these broad categories and made society much more complicated for the mass.

    We watched our media react accordingly, moving from “Leave It To Beaver” to “Sex and the City” and Hip-hop. Social media is a natural extension of this development, and it is highly targeted and highly segmented… and basically selfish.

    So what FB does seems worth more because in strictly selfish terms “you” get what “you” want from your friends, on demand, 24-7. Sweet deal, right?

    But nothing proceeds at a uniform pace… so as you mention, companies begin to scan these social databases in order to learn something about a potential employee.

    Here a new kind of value emerges, a kind of investment in the new social reality by companies. If “you” are worth a company’s time to have your FB history scanned for party pictures and drunken status updates, you must be potentially worth something more… right?

    In the near future, you will demand that a company scan your FB timeline, just to prove that you are worth hiring. Who needs a resume when you can simply show a company your life?.

    Here comes a whole new kind of “life coach.” One that, among other important skills, will encourage good grammar, active use of spell check, basic photo and video composition, and teach people how to write with clarity and depth.

    And what will those who don’t have these social network skills be worth beyond the pleasure of contact with their “family and friends?”

    It will make them worthless.

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