The Facebook IPO happens tomorrow, and I have a question for my readers: If you use Facebook, are you still spending as much time on it as you did last year?
I was talking to a young Facebook user recently and asked if her new obsession with Instagram had come at the cost of Facebook time. Her answer was yes, and I got the sense that Facebook was for old people and Instagram was for the young. Ouch.
Instagram is a brilliant business concept. It strips out the best part of Facebook (Hey, look at my photo, friends!) and then makes improvements on that feature (Hey, look at my sepia-toned photos, friends!). In addition to besting the best part of Facebook, Instagram also improved on the worst part of Facebook: sketchy privacy. While a parent might ban a kid from Facebook for privacy reasons, Instagram is relatively less of a privacy issue. The keyword here is “relatively,” since either service lets you post dumb comments and incriminating photos of yourself.
It’s no wonder Facebook threw a billion dollars at Instagram, apparently to kill the competition by absorption. If I were Zuckerberg, and I noticed young people migrating from Facebook to Instagram just as I prepared for my IPO, I’d spend a billion dollars to make the problem go away too. I wonder if Instagram would have sold for something closer to $100 million if Facebook had already done its IPO. Timing is everything.
Readers of this blog, are you using Facebook less this year than you did last year?