Oh, Facebook’s IPO. I can’t stop thinking about you. I think it’s how you’re like a little microcosm of everything that people like me think about. (People like me are, for newcomers to this blog, basically media people who like a little rant now and then, and who also like to bitch about clothes.)
While not a pseudo event per se, such as Eurovision Song Contest or the Olympics that exist to be televised, the Facebook IPO has almost celeb trial stickiness in the media landscape. A stock market introduction has its sport narrative qualities, that first day being decidedly race-like in character. But still.
Obviously, there’s something else here that resonates with people, something that goes beyond youth and money, brand allegiance, or the sheer lifestyle-entertainment-fun factor. The Facebook IPO is an event that is also a moment of truth for our great narrative of the digital age – about (in this case, social) technology as a benign disruptor. An unstoppable force, but one which will make us (not us, actually, so much as Americans) richer, better and generally happier in the end. A Hoodie-clad, Innovative, Entrepreneurial, Silicon Valley, Tech-Guy, Super Positive future. One which might not suit all, granted, (Ask yourself this uneasy question: how will your boss look in a hoodie?) but one which is still quintessentially a quite safe Modernist Future.
“I hold the future in my hands.”
The Facebook IPO then, joins the ranks of Seabiscuit, various astronauts and Bobby Fischer (what a party!) in turning into a symbol of hope, of battle for our way of life.
It’s all up to you now. Bobby Fischer vs Boris Spassky in the Reykjavik 1972 Chess World Championship.
Right now, the verdict seems still to be out.
Which leads to my plea. I might be a little on the post-modern side normally, but my life is generally a little too uncertain right now. So, actually, I would like this whole thing to just behave and at least reassure the world of the long lasting monetary value of fleeting little likes. Is it too much to ask for?
Some other day, let’s discuss hoodies in more depth.
Edit: This interpretation, it turns out, is indeed the Truth, because a Guardian journalist just expressed the same thing, only slightly better phrased. I found this paragraph in said publication while I was looking for a truly hideous hoodie picture for this blog post (emphasis mine):
What’s interesting, though, is that most people argue that Facebook looks overvalued, yet we would not know what to do if that prediction came true. We have more invested in Facebook succeeding – because it is a more worrying question if it doesn’t. The essential narrative of our times rests on the notion that technology is a constant motor of change, which brings with it great wealth. (Dan Sabbagh: Facebook’s future has more than money riding on it, The Guardian 20th May)
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