How Facebook Screwed It up for Spectators

The social media market used to be fun to watch. A palpable excitement pervaded it, as rapid growth turned the likes of Facebook, Twitter and many others into household names. Enormous venture capital deals were cut – not that the recipients need the money. It looks like many were taking periodic cash-outs instead of having to wait for the big day.

And, until May, we held our collective breath waiting for the big moment, the one that would define it all: the Facebook IPO. Which was a flop.

Since then, Groupon and Zynga are circling the drain, and Facebook’s share price has fallen by half. Some expect further declines. The nine-figure venture capital deals seem to have gone (or at least slowed down).

The fun has left the market.

For me, it has meant the loss of a major spectator sport. Imagine losing football season after the Super Bowl – and not just for six months. Consider what it would be like, on that Monday morning after the big game, to wonder when football is coming back, fully realizing that it may take several years and that it could return as something else (like curling).

After covering the tech IPO market for SocialTimes and Inside IPO, when I’d read and write about this stuff almost constantly, the whole space feels like it has dried up. There aren’t as many articles being written about the social media start-up market, and when these pieces do pop up, the energy you used to be able to count on in these stories is gone.

I guess we got what we deserved, although it pains me to admit it. We wanted a Facebook IPO, but on our own terms. Markets don’t work that way. And now, we’re stuck waiting for curling.

Follow me on Twitter at @tjohansmeyer >>

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