more blogger thoughts on Facebook

Continuing to read around to see what other old guard bloggers say about Facebook.
Here's John Robb of of Global Guerrillas:

Currently [Facebook]'s valued at ~$25 billion by the market. However, it could be argued that ~100,000 superusers out of 500 million part time users, are the reason that Facebook is valuable. They generate the core network that is the backbone of the tool. Their devoted use, high levels of connectivity, and loyalty forms the engine that grows Facebook, year in and year out. They are the materials, labor, and product of Facebook's assembly line. Yet they aren't paid for their effort. They aren't generating wealth for themselves or their families.

How much wealth? If we awarded 4/5 ths of the value of Facebook (and the same exercise could be done with Google at a couple of million superusers) to its superusers, leaving the tool managers $5 billion in value, each superuser would now be worth $200,000 from their contributions to this tool alone. But they aren't. They haven't earned a penny for their effort. [emphasis Robb's]

Naturally, for criticizing the divine, Robb's own assumptions about blogging were attacked:

I'm curious, how many of your "links of interest" come from readers? Also, how much traffic comes from retweets and shares? Even if it's just a little bit, then your readers are creating added value for you. Not that they should be paid, it's just part of the implicit bargain of enjoying your content and being a part of the community of GG thinkers.
ckundo Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 12:02 PM

Some do. Point taken.
However, I am producing the vast majority of the content (that I give away) and paying for the technology to deliver it to the community.
I'm also not producing much in terms of marketable value. IF I was, I would be VERY happy to share it with everyone that worked to make it so (it would be morally and ethically wrong not to do so).
John Robb Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 12:37 PM

The fact that you pay for the technology demonstrates your intrinsic satisfaction in sharing. While you pay to share your thoughts, FB subsidizes that cost to users, with the tradeoff of keeping the profits. As soon as that tradeoff becomes overly apparent or too steep, people will bail.
ckundo Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 03:00 PM

LOL. OK. We could continue to spar on the differences between my content creation and Facebook's software services, but the gulf in our perspectives is obviously too vast to bridge.
John Robb Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 03:17 PM

That's what I should have said to the person who accused me of "battling internet change"!

The long comment thread is worth a skim. Here is another observation:

I think the so-called critics of Robb are missing the point. Robb used the term "cognitive slaves," as opposed to "chattel slaves" or "wage slaves." Facebook does not own its users outright like plantation owners did their slaves. It cannot execute them at will, beat them, breed them, etc. Rather, it provides an addictive activity that purports to provide value to the user, which millions of people will argue that it does, in that it allows them to connect and share with other people. However, it extracts value that can be converted into money from the users, and does not compensate them financially. Facebook would argue that since it provides it service for free, it does not need to pay dividends to the users. Where the cognitive slavery aspect comes in, is that users become addicted to using Facebook, use it excessively, do not generate any wealth for themselves with regard to the time they put in, but generate wealth for Facebook, therefore, they have become enslaved to Facebook because they enjoy it so much.
tcolonelnemo Thursday, 23 September 2010 at 12:21 PM