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Facebook: Social Media's First Publicly Tainted Company
By: Christine Geraci
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When Facebook becomes a publicly traded company, it will be interesting to see what will happen to social media as we know it. 
This post from Mark Schaefer suggests it will become "the most dangerous company on earth." This is because to continue to be profitable for shareholders, Facebook must continue to collect steadily increasing amounts of information about you and I. Facebook will do this by creating more and more ways to share information about yourself.
But here's where it all goes wrong:
Social media is (or, it's at least supposed to be) about accountability, authenticity, and, dare I say it, democracy. Everyone has a voice, and anyone can go viral. Of course, social tools are private companies that must make money to sustain themselves, so tapping into marketing potential is a natural way to seek the revenue they need to stay viable. But if no one wants to use their tools, then they're done. The public arguably has the power to make or break any social channel.
Except, when Facebook goes public, they will ironically no longer answer to their users (not that Facebook has ever done this particularly well). They will answer to a group of shareholders. 
Instantly, any new sharing innovation is tainted. A new way to share information won't be seen as an improvement based on user feedback — it will be seen as a profit-generating tactic to please a bunch of suits in a boardroom. 
Maybe Facebook's shareholders won't wear suits or even meet in boardrooms. But that's the image people will have in their minds. 
From a business standpoint, this is a huge development in social media. Facebook, the world's largest juggernaut of a social media company, is going public. That deserves a "wow." 
But I agree with Schaefer when he suggests that efforts to "beat the street" could lead to Facebook's ultimate ruin. 
What are your thoughts?

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About the Author
Christine Geraci is the Social Media/Promotions Specialist at MVP Health Care in Schenectady, NY. Connect with her on Twitter @christinegeraci.
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