Saturday, June 9, 2012

Facebook? Or Gamebook?

Facebook’s recent change to the public market (May 18, 2012) has caused the social network’s stock value to plummet creating great uncertainty in current shareholders and future investors. One can argue that such lack of confidence within the public market has been a matter of investors being cautious rather than reckless, questioning the company’s overall future. But current and potential shareholders have been right to hesitate. Just a few days after going public, the company’s shares dropped a harsh 24 percent in its offering price.

In hope of correcting the latest financial crisis, and reassuring investors of a profitable future, the social network has recently announced the creation of its new app center.  The “Facebook App Center” will provide the network’s users with a “one-stop shop” for apps.  Facebook vows to provide an estimated 600 apps, giving the option to obtain them free or at a minimal cost in “high quality”.  The apps will include the ever so popular “Draw Something, Instagram, Pinterest, and hundreds” more.

According to the CNN report, by establishing the App Center, existing apps will be made easily accessible while applied ratings will help consumers “spend less time weeding through low-quality apps to find the ones they really want”.

This may potentially be great news for current app users on Facebook. But for others like myself, who choose not to engage with the apps via the network and restrict use solely as a medium for communication, it means more junk to have to deny. And not only will it affect users, but also news networks like Fox and CNN that use Facebook as a means of acquiring stories and reporting up to the minute information. Followers engaged in the center means the news networks could potentially lose their fan base to hours of Facebook users surfing the FB App Center.

That said, could Facebook remain and sustain its social network as a tool for instant virtual communication? Or will it become simply entertainment, giving users more game tools to fiddle with and lose track of time on the web?

Personally I believe in not fixing what isn’t broken, but Facebook seems to believe that it will "woo potential investors ... and boost mobile presence – an area the company is eager to expand”. 

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