Facebook: Social Networking Site/Publicly Traded Company worth $4 Billion

Facebook is in the earlier stages of becoming a publicly traded company on the NYSE. What this means is the investor pool is about to swell and go from private investors to anyone who wants a piece of that pie, including you or me. This also means the founder and president, Mark Zuckerberg, who is in his late 20s, is about to become a much richer man than he already was.

Reportedly, Facebook's private investor count had reached its legal limit of 500, which forces a company to open its books and become public. Would I invest in Facebook? People continue to point to the abandoned Myspace as an example of a social networking site's short lifespan. People are fickle, and popular sites can quickly go out of favor. Other questions: What will the price/share be? How big is the overall investor pie? Investors get their return in dividends, which are payouts based on their share of investments and the companies' profits. This isn't a simple or straightforward formula: Oil companies make an ungodly amount of money, but their investors get small returns.

Potentially, this could make Facebook a better place to kill time or promote your business, whatever you do here. As an investor, you are technically a partial owner of the company. We could have more say in their privacy policy (which is arguably none or hard to decipher), their constant changes and updates to the site, and what new applications are launched here.

Things that were once unknown, like how much money the company makes per year, will need to be transparent and reported regularly. The company we invest so much - or maybe so little - of our time in might return some of that investment.

Might.

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