Overheard – A Text Conversation about Facebook

This morning, my 18-year old son posed an interesting question, using his preferred communications medium, text messaging:

“Does Facebook really expect to still be on top by the time I’m my parents age?”

The question, coming out of the blue, was intriguing enough for me to offer my perspective. Here’s our exchange in its entirety:

Q: Does Facebook really expect to still be on top by the time I’m my parents age?

A: Yes

Q: How?

A: Four companies are fighting for dominance in the same space. Apple/iTunes, Amazon, Facebook and Google. They will eat everyone else including networks, cable companies, cell companies, newspapers, ad agencies. It’s going to be interesting. They hate each other.

Q: It’s interesting how Apple, a merchandise company is included in social media groups like Facebook. Is it just cause of iTunes?

A: Apple wants to be your TV. So does Google which owns YouTube and Android. The value is in ads and the data they have on you. It all comes down to marketing. This is the most exciting time ever to be in marketing. Get an internship with one of those four companies.

Q: Sounds good.

A: Facebook right now knows more about you than the other three.

Q: How so? Is it cause they have a direct line to Millennials? Through the website?

A: Facebook has a direct line to everyone on the planet who is on the Internet.

Q: Well, I just meant through the Facebook website, doesn’t Google and Amazon have the same direct line?

A: It’s all about the data. The one with the best data wins. That’ why privacy issues are so important. You should read Fast Company. It’s all there. Yahoo just got a new CEO from Google. She’s pregnant and in her 30’s. Could be a game changer. Business is just people it’s exciting.

Q: What could she do that changes it up? And Google owns Yahoo?

A: Google and Amazon only know what you search, watch and buy. Facebook knows everything. Who your friends are. Your interests. Where you go.  Google and Yahoo compete. Marissa Meyer invented the white search page and google maps. She was employee number 40.

Q: Yeah, that’s what I meant by a direct line to us.

A: Google Plus is Google’s answer to Facebook. They are putting a lot of money behind it.

Q: yeah but everyone thinks it sucks and the only ppl who use it is Google employees.

A: Here’s an interesting question: Who owns your data? You? Or these companies? If they make money off your data shouldn’t you benefit, too? Lawyers will also make money ha ha. Lots of new laws need to be written. Much of the arguments will play out in courts. These companies are all suing each other and it matters who wins.

Q: I thought it belonged to the company. Facebook makes it clear that if you put a picture on Facebook it belongs to them. They can use it for ads, etc.

A: They say that but it hasn’t been tested in courts. Apple has bigger market capitalization than any other company. Amazing, more than Exxon, GE, Walmart. Apple = $571 Billion, Google $206 Billion, Amazon $105 billion. Facebook $104 billion.

Q: But you say Facebook will pull ahead?

A: Maybe. But they plan to be here when you are my age. That was the question. They just went public. Unheard of to be worth so much for a company less than 10 years old.  Mobile is more important than computers now, and Facebook is big on mobile. Mobile data users (smartphones) will grow 51% by this time next year. Everyone is scrambling to figure out how to transition marketing to mobile.

Q: I’m working now. Talk later?

A: Aren’t you glad you asked?

Q: (No response)