The lead-up to last Friday's Facebook IPO was an orgy of web 2.0 populism. Started by a Harvard undergrad in his dorm room, Facebook was poised to become the largest tech IPO ever. And its value stemmed from our stuff—our status updates, pictures and pokes! This was the major driver of the outlandish hype surrounding Facebook's IPO; the sense that the public would finally get a chance to share in the spectacular success of the company we helped build.
It seemed like the entire planet was going public, as journalists rushed to interview random Facebook users for their thoughts, as if they mattered. People who never made it past the paywall of the Wall Street Journal followed the Facebook stock debut on Friday like the score in an NBA game. And this is because when Facebook was listed, our own lives were literally put on sale; in fixating on Facebook's ever-climbing valuation we were obsessing over ourselves. There was almost a bit of Occupy Wall Street about the whole thing—the public offering of the 99%.
Now, as Facebook's stock falls for a third straight day it's clear we weren't worth as much as a lot of people thought. But the details behind the deal also also make it clear that ordinary people will never meaningfully share in Facebook's vast success, no matter where the needle on the Wall Street Journal's awful Mark Zuckerberg Wealth-Tracking Widget finally lands.
So, Mark Zuckerberg screwed Facebook investors in the IPO like he's screwed Facebook users on privacy. (Hours before the IPO, Facebook was hit with a $15 billion lawsuit over privacy violations.) This would be just a hilarious coincidence, except for the vast amounts of money he's made doing both.