Facebook, the world’s fastest growing online pastime, may soon be going public.
Since launching in 2004, the site has amassed more than 800 million users. That means about 1 out of 8 people in the world are posting status updates, pictures and reconnecting with friends on Facebook.
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And because of the Facebook’s popularity, the site has been ingrained into our everyday lives.
“Facebook is something almost everybody on the planet is aware of,” said Beverly Macy, CEO Gravity Summit and Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. “So we are living and breathing in the Facebook world.”
During the F8 conference last year, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg brought up the quickly growing social revolution of social networks and its affects in the future.
“Until recently people weren’t sure how big this phenomenon of people connecting online would be, or how long it would last,” said Zuckerberg. “By now, I think that most people see that social networks are going to be a ubiquitous tool used by billions of people to be connected.”
Firmly woven into the fabric of our existence today, Facebook is ready to go public.
So what does it mean to go public?
“IPO stands for initial public offering and it means that a company is going to make their stock available for the public to invest in the company,” said Macy.
Offering its IPO will shower Facebook in cash and make some of its employees millionaires, cementing its standing among the biggest companies in the world.
“This could be bigger than Google,” Macy said. “This could make Facebook as big or bigger than Disney or General Motors and that’s hard to imagine.”
Facebook famously denied a billion dollar Yahoo buyout in 2006 and in 2010 Zuckerberg explained why the IPO was being delayed.
“A lot of people think when you go public or sell a company you win, it’s this end point,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with television news show 60 Minutes. “That’s just not how I see it.”
Although no one is doubting the success of the IPO, online consumers are fickle and many have a love hate relationship with the site due to privacy concerns among others.
For the everyday investor, making a million dollars with the initial public offering may be far fetched.
Many banks offering IPOs for popular companies typically look to sell the majority of their stocks to larger buyers because of convenience. But as Facebook is a young company seeking to please its users, the site may set aside stocks for smaller buyers as in the case of companies like Sam Adams the Associated Press reports.
Beyond technicalities, there are also concerns the site may be a passing trend.
“Part of the risk for Facebook now is to keep the public engaged,” Macy said. “So will they stay? We’ll see.”
Story by Rich DeMuro KTLA