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Post details: Facebook Defaced

Facebook Defaced

Facebook, meet reality.

Reality, this is Facebook.

After months of feverish preparations, just as the waves of anticipation started cresting at the investment shore, the company that was being hyped as a hypothetical new Google finally launched its IPO (initial public offering). And as is often the case in instances of mass hysteria, it all climaxed rather unexpectedly - not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Despite the fact that the whole operation had been handled by top-notch investing professionals who under normal atmospheric conditions would be perfectly capable of selling flood insurance to Saharan nomads, the IPO fell far short of expectations already during the first hours of trading. And in the days to come it kept falling shorter and shorter. None of the hyper-connected enthusiasts brimming with virtual compassion could save it. None of the young guns friending the whole world from the hip could save it. None of the big boys with pockets filled with casino chips could save it. The valuations just didn't compute.

But before the vaunted analysts and headache specialists figure out what went wrong, I would like to offer Facebook a few well meant tips how to increase their cash flow.

1. Pet Facebook

Enough of critter discrimination. Facebook needs to open its business to other species. That is where the growth is. The market for homo sapiens is already too saturated. Bring your pets online (although I have a suspicion that many are already there). Let them scratch on the wall. Let them update their status to purring or howling. Let them friend the neighborhood coons. Let them develop their bovine networks. There are billions of spiders on the web already. Come on, Facebook, give them their own accounts.

2. Adopt a dictator

This should be a no-brainer. Dictators usually sit on a big heap of cash and - at the same time - are in desperate need of friends. I am sure they would be willing to sponsor their own networks. This is simply a match waiting to happen. Just a small cut from these transaction would make Facebook's Chief Financial Officer smile like a new moon. Wondering whether to accept Fidel or Hugo? Ali or Bashar? Your choice. And who knows, maybe the notorious autocrats would open up and share with us some of their likes and dislikes. We may learn that Kim Jung Un has an irrational fear of being stabbed in the back by a poisoned carrot. Everything is possible. And if you know how to write good apps, you can sell them used bomb shelters to boot.

3. The Chinese Wall

Forget those little panels where friends scribble about what floated in their cereal bowl today and how they felt about it. We need to think big. Really big. Facebook needs a large centralized awe inspiring wall for all to see. A wall that could absorb all the profound comments generated by the recent concert tour of Esoteric Hernia. A wall where everyone would have a voice. A wall that would be funded by the cash rich Chinese government.

4. Insurance to the Rescue

We live in a surveillance world. Apparently some employers are now screening Facebook for signs of inappropriate behavior in the profiles of their prospective hires. Since this trend is more likely to intensify in the near future, it is time to introduce Facebook to the lucrative business of private insurance. Wanna make sure your career is protected in case your boss finds out that you are secretly kissing frogs in the park or bowing profusely to the porcelain throne? Our coverage specialists would be happy to design a contract for you that will fit your personal needs.

5. Central Friends Bank

This could be Facebook's crowning achievement. At some point the world will run out of natural friends, and then the ability to generate synthetic ones could come in handy. Imagine you do something bad, and all your friends unfriended you. No problem. Facebook will generate scores of fake accounts - for a small fee obviously - and have them all friend you. Maybe even write some computer generated pleasantry on your wall. Voila - you no longer the pariah of the block. And the best thing about synthetic friends - a fact real central banks are well aware of - is that they can be produced in unlimited quantities. Welcome to the Brave New World!

But let's put jokes aside for a moment. That last point actually opens a small window into one possible form of a dystopian future, and it is instructive to take a peek through it.

There is an uncanny parallel between the idea of creating non existent friends and the way our banking system operates, specifically how central banks create "money" out of thin air whenever they think it suits their needs. The parallel may sound preposterous at first glance, but now that Facebook enjoys its tango with the likes of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street darlings, perhaps it is worthy of closer inspection.

We all crave wealth and friendship. It has always been that way. But they should be organic. They should be the product of our hard work and our social engagements. The moment you create wealth or friendship synthetically, their true meaning and value becomes diluted. In other words, making hundreds of Facebook friends is as good barometer of your real social life as printing 2 trillion dollars is of our nation's financial health. Sure, on the surface it may seem like we have just invented an antidote to all bad consequences: if you mess up - financially or socially - a central authority will step in and create brand new dollars or friends to paper over the problem. But if you think about it, something precious would have been lost in such shenanigans. For a world to function properly, there have to be consequences.

Every day we shape our future with a myriad of individual decisions we make. Let's hope that values we create and believe in will be as real as possible. Creating an illusion of wealth or social life by increasing their nominal quantities would be a giant leap in the wrong direction.


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