By Justin Mannato
Senior Producer, Varney & Co
We see a lot of stories about what’s wrong with Facebook. One day they’re losing millions of teen users. The next, the entire thing will be eradicated like a disease in five years. And those are just two in the past week or so. Despite the seemingly-growing chorus of naysayers, I see Facebook as more than just a social media site. It’s a personalized global marketplace. It’s a center for e-commerce. It’s Amazon, Ebay, LinkedIn, Paypal, Angie’s List, and a lot more all rolled into one.
People are doing business with friends, or with people they meet through their friends, and Facebook has a built-in security system: Y-O-U. Case in point: a friend of mine bought Super Bowl tickets from another friend of mine and he did it through Facebook. My friend, who is a Broncos fan, contacted me through Facebook Messenger. He asked me if I knew anyone who was selling tickets. I said yes, as a matter of fact, someone else I am friends with is a Giants season ticket holder and he’s selling his tickets. These two guys have never met, but I vouched for both of them. The buyer was even shrewd and patient enough to wait to contact the seller again until the second week, when ticket prices had dropped. Capitalism playing out on Facebook, through Facebook.
They settled on a price. ($2700 for the pair.) Payment was sent via Paypal. Tickets were overnighted via FedEx and in hand the next day. A flight was booked, and a Super Bowl experience was born. All thanks to Facebook. I had a similar experience back in July 2008, when Billy Joel was performing his historic Last Play at Shea concert. I posted a status update asking if anyone knew someone who had tickets. A friend answered, put me in touch with his sister, and the next night my wife and I were sitting in the upper deck listening to the Piano Man.
It even serves as a LinkedIn, for colleagues to stay in touch and share resumes and job openings. Or an Angie’s List… ever see someone ask their friends if they know a good plumber/roofer/handyman?
Listen, I’m no economist. I just report on what I see. And I see people using Facebook as more than just a hangout. It’s a marketplace for goods and services. It’s a source for news too. Facebook may not be profiting directly from it, but there is value in this phenomenon. And maybe Facebook finds a way to tap into this value eventually. Perhaps it already has with their targeted ads.
I’m also not a stock picker, and I don't own the stock myself, put I can see that Facebook shares are up 14.37% year-to-date, 29.76% in the past three months, and 64% since summer.
Capitalism is alive and well on Facebook, and Team Varney is glad to be a part of it.
- Behind the Scenes