Thursday, August 25, 2011

re facebook: what is value?

this breathless sounding headline story from CNNmoney shows just how out-of-joint the US culture is with reality:

Is Facebook losing its value? - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet: "For the past several years, there have been three things you could count on: Death, taxes and Facebook gaining in value. Now we might have to return to the old standbys.
Facebook recently suffered its first-ever consecutive decline in valuation on the private secondary markets, according to a report being released later today by research firm PrivCo."
somewhat ludicrously, the notion of 'value' rests in financial terms, without reference to utility or usefulness. when we place a value on a thing or a service, it's always with a dollar sign attached. in real life -- in our relationships and the things that give meaning to life -- it's rarely that simple.

but facebook is an extreme example, to be sure. we could, without a doubt, life a perfectly full and satisfying life without this cybernetic juggernaut, but the purveyors of our shared cultural values tirelessly promote the centrality of facebook to our collective identity. it has in and of itself become a cultural value, and those who choose to abstain are viewed as hopeless luddites or antisocial deviants.

personally, i don't value the kind of friendship that facebook promulgates, nor does it impart and improvement to my quality of life to be tracked and traded like a commodity by the marketplace inherent in the facebook model. if this is the future, you'll find me hanging back in the past, where monetary value was tangible and values were not traded in the markets.

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