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Facebook users weigh in on, well, Facebook

- Associated Press - Friday, May 18, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - While Facebook's initial public offering Friday had all of Wall Street abuzz, its 900 million users had other things on their minds. They were busy sharing with the world their thoughts about the presidential election, Haitian Flag Day and the weekend.

That's not to say there wasn't plenty of discussion of Facebook's $104 billion deal. There was. But many Facebook users simply took note of it and went on gushing with friends about other aspects of their lives _ and maybe adding some photos they might one day regret.

On the day of the most highly-anticipated offering in a decade, Facebook IPO conversations accounted for 0.25 percent of all online discussion during the first part of Friday, according to NM Incite, a social media research company. That's an increase of 5,000 percent relative to buzz one month ago.

Past IPOs for tech sweethearts didn't spark nearly as much online commentary. The chatter for Facebook's offering was four times greater than for LinkedIn's IPO and 10 times greater than for Groupon's IPO.

The Facebook ramblings ranged greatly. Some were debating if they should get in on the buying frenzy. Others were trying to guess the stock's closing price. Several were lamenting that they hadn't thought to invent the social media site themselves. A few even addressed the Menlo Park, Calif. company as if it were a person, congratulating it just as they would a friend on the birth of their son.

"Hey Facebook! Have a good first day on the stock market," one user wrote from his mobile device. Within two hours, eight other Facebook users had "liked" the post.

Nancy Perez, a self-described "engage-aholic" who makes her living off social media, also congratulated Facebook via her Facebook status, of course: "You have earned your place in history as one of the most powerful companies on the planet!"

Perez says she shares everything with her friends: industry news, Facebook tips, personal stories and much more. Why would the day of Facebook's IPO be any different?

"I'm an open book and I share my story on Facebook," the owner of a social media marketing and management agency in Orlando told The Associated Press on Friday in an email.

Perez however isn't buying Facebook stock _ yet.

"I'm never first to a party," she said in the email, adding a smiley face emoticon.

The postings on Facebook seemed to change tone as the stock rose and fell. As the day progressed, the mood of the updates fluctuated between optimism and skepticism.

Early on, many users expressed frustration when the stock started trading a little later than the anticipated time. Later, they questioned whether the stock was overpriced; One man pontificated if "the next new fun thing will come around and people will gravitate there."

Another user asked if Facebook would remain true to its roots as it tries to make money and appease the stock market: "Now that Facebook is public, does that mean our info is no longer private?"

And then there were updates that were more philosophical. "God has no Phone, but I talk to him. He has no Facebook, but he is still my friend. He does not have a Twitter, but I still follow him," said one user.

While Facebook users were sharing their thoughts on the IPO, what was 28-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg saying on his own creation?

At 9:29 a.m., he logged in. The update: "Mark listed FB on NASDAQ."

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Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

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