Are Facebook Fans Really Worth Anything?

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Yesterday, the personal finance blog Finance Gourmet speculated on how overvalued Facebook might be right now, and more specifically, if any of the company valuations being thrown around by financial analysts and private share exchanges are anything more than wild (optimistic) guesses.

I had a different thought today as I went through my usual social media routine. As one of Facebook’s 500 million users, I became a “Fan” of a bunch of things and then when Facebook changed the rules, I started to “LIKE” a bunch of things too. However, whenever one of those things that I am a fan of posts something lame or posts too often, I click the HIDE button and they disappear forever from my Facebook News Feed.

Facebook Fans Hide Updates

Here is the issue. I am still a fan of all of those things, but I never see a single word from them, nor do I interact with them again in anyway. The question is, how many “fans” out there do the same thing on a regular basis?

The latest on Citibank ThankYou rewards is on FinanceGourmet.

In other words, if you have 50,000 fans is that worth anything? How many of those 50K fans have hidden you? How many are ignoring everything you post or using one of the friends lists to screen out your status updates?

Has Facebook made its service less valuable by making it less apparent how well any Facebook business, social group, interest, or marketing attempt is working?

Just because you have 30,000 fans, doesn’t mean that you have 30,000 users getting your posts.

Or, am I just being overly analytical?

These aren’t meaningless questions. They go right to the heart of the business strategy value of using Facebook as a way to stay in touch. Contrast this to Twitter, where followers are always recieving every one of your tweets. (Whether or not they are reading them or paying any attention is another matter.)

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