How Much Have We Given Him?

Facebook turned 20 earlier this year. Next year you can buy it a beer – if it’s still around.

It started on college campuses and grew like crazy. It was late in  2006 –  with momentum then fully rolling – that it began letting the rest of us in. There’s a lesson there if you’re paying attention. If you want to start something wholly new and need early adopters, give it to young people. They’ll try anything. 

In Minot, I’d bet we began adopting Facebook seriously in 2011. The flood exposed our era’s new information challenges, and Facebook was, at that moment, a useful source for staying informed. Though if we recall clearly, the poison pill was present even then. Who else remembers reading Facebook posts about all the dead bodies dumped behind Walmart? Do you suppose it’s possible that never happened?

Minot’s lunatic social media rantings aside, Facebook became so ubiquitous that even small businesses started using it. Even in Minot. And in that golden age of mass Facebook adoption, it was a fair exchange. For a business owner that did the work, there was a reward to gain – traffic and exposure.

But it wasn’t free. Business owners had to learn new skills – or hire somebody who had them. Business owners had to add new work they didn’t previously do – or hire someone who did it for them. It was a fair exchange because that was the cost. Creating the content was the cost.

The whole arrangement invites a question: how much do you think we gave him? I’m referring to that guy who started Facebook, of course.  It’s a rhetorical question, but I’ll get you started on the equation. Assume a modest wage that few of us would work for like $10 an hour, and then spread it across the more than 30 million small businesses in this country. Is it any wonder he’s a billionaire?

As Facebook grew, there were other costs, too. What’s your opinion of the Minot Daily News these days? Do you think social media’s rise and the demise of local news is a coincidence? What has losing local news cost our communities? What has losing a local advertising source cost our small businesses now that social media owns all the traffic?

Now to the question I really want you to think about – especially if you’re a small business owner who posts on Facebook. Is he keeping up his end of the deal? Or do you find yourself working harder and harder for less and less?

If you’re part of a local business creating savory experiences, we’ve built you an alternative to Facebook. We’ve got a growing audience, and we make it easy. We’d love to talk to you about it. Check out SavorMinot here. Get in touch to learn more here.

Josh Wolsky

Developer & Writer @TheMinot Voice, Fan of the Souris River, SavorMinot Advocate. Fortunate to be a 'former' City Council member ;)

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