I’m Worth What?

I recently received an email which discussed the perceived and real value of social networks. This email was touting a new book by Adam L. Penenberg called Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves. This book which is due to be released on October 13, 2009 attempts to describe the viral process and how businesses can attempt to become viral in today’s social networking sites.

As part of the pre-release advertising for the book, the people at Studioe9 came up with a Facebook Viral Loop application that will tell you exactly how much of Facebook’s proposed $6 billion value is attributed to you as a Facebook user.

While I am not a huge Facebook user, I am friends with people who do use it religiously. I figured by choosing my friends wisely I would be able to reap the value they bring to the social networking scene.

So with confidence riding high I installed the Viral Loop application and let it churn on my Facebook profile and eagerly awaited the result that would validate my self-proclaimed importance.

After a minute the result came back. “Your loop value is $61.40.” That’s it? Out of a total of $6 billion I am worth a measly $61 and some change? That is completely messed up. I decided that I obviously had mis-configured the application. Much to my frustration I found that there were no settings to configure.

Obviously the application had a hiccup so I ran it again. For the second time in a row it came back with the same value, $61.40. It’s depressing to come to the realization that you are not nearly as valuable as you thought you were.

I sat there in front of the computer screen and sighed. As I did, my wife Trina happened to walk by and asked what the problem was. I explained the Viral Loop program and how it would calculate the value of a user on Facebook and that it somehow was broken since it set my worth at $61.40. She looked at the screen and then at me and stated, “You’re right, it has to be broken there is no way you are worth $61.40.”

I was pleased that my wife had agreed with me but as she walked away she continued, “That is a full $65 too high.” I sat there stunned. What was that supposed to mean?

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