I own Facebook.

in Social
by Matt Neal

Not really. I haven’t had any past dealings with Mark Zuckerberg and have absolutely no evidence of any kind of agreement between us to suggest that I have any right to the proposed $50bn value at all. I have no such claim to Twitter either. Shame.

I am, at most, simply an observer of Facebook. I have an account and I will log in (and when I say log in, I mean fire up my iPhone app) approximately once every two to three weeks to see if anything interesting is going on. Mostly I find that there isn’t, because I’ve heard about all the interesting things I want to know about first hand from those that I interact with on a regular basis.

We use Twitter at work, we tweet through @abrightnewway about things we think are interesting to our audience and it proves to be valuable for us. I have a personal Twitter account, but I don’t use it.

I understand that the use of Facebook and Twitter is individual, and so I know that there are millions of people who genuinely do use it on a daily basis to stay in touch with their friends. I also know, and have experience of, brands making great use of these channels as both awareness and direct revenue generation tools. However, I do find it mildly ridiculous when I read tweets like this:

"Macworld UK (@MacworldUK) 19/06/2011 09:05 RT: #Facebook and #Twitter are now too big to fail. We all have too much of a vested interest in them. (via @nicklevine) Very true. " Not true. Banks maybe, but not Facebook and Twitter.

The suggestion that something is ‘too big to fail’ would suggest that we can’t allow it to happen. Or, the suggestion is that they are so big it isn't possible for them to fail. There are plenty of high-profile failures to suggest otherwise.

But who has the greatest vested interest? Most of the people I know on a personal level don’t use Twitter and are as passive as I am when it comes to Facebook. I would argue that even those people who use Facebook or Twitter all the time are confident that their true friendships would last without it.

It’s true that we work with many of our clients to develop and manage effective social media strategies, but not one of them relies on them to the point where they would be lost without them. Are there any companies that solely rely on social media to survive?

If there are, perhaps they should have a rethink, because these channels have the ability to disappear from favour as quickly as they turned up. If you believe the latest press about falling numbers at Facebook, it seems there are plenty of other people who won’t be joining the ‘don’t let Facebook fail’ campaign.

I don’t doubt the significant influence that these channels can have on a company’s bottom line but if, as a business, seeing Facebook or Twitter go for a Burton would cause you serious financial issues then your business model is wrong. If you’re worried from a personal point of view, don’t be. Wait five minutes and something else will be along to fill the void.