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The trouble with Facebook: Who really needs it? [Video]

May 21, 2012|By David Lazarus

So now we've had a weekend to digest Facebook's less-than-spectacular IPO. The stock is trading below the offer price. Investors remain underwhelmed. What have we learned?

Well, one thing that seems clear is that the world could survive without the social-media behemoth.

Facebook has nearly 1 billion users. That's darned impressive. But does it make for a sound investment?

Not so much. I can't speak for others, but my Facebook experience is largely confined to checking out the mundane doings of old pals and ex-girlfriends. There's a voyeuristic, stalky, fly-on-the-wall appeal that's undeniable.

But is it necessary? Nope. My day would still be complete (and undoubtedly more productive) without a visit to the site. Just as I'd somehow learn to cope without peeking at how many Twitter followers I enjoy at any given moment.

This is social media's soft underbelly. It's fun, but it's not essential.

And that's why investors are prudent to be cautious. Facebook and its ilk have yet to demonstrate why they make sense as a long-term place to dump your money.

Unless, that is, you thought Pet Rocks were a brilliant advance for civilization.

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