“If You’re Not Paying for It; You’re the Product.” This quote has been bouncing around on social media since 2010 when it was first posted on MetaFilter. In some ways, this new adage for the social media age can be seen as the modern adaptation of the popular old saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” But if there is no free lunch, who has been paying for all of the awesome social networking sites and tools that many of us are currently using? The most obvious answer, of course, would be “private investors.” But realistically and ultimately, under the current regime, we all are paying for it with our personal information. And in the age of “Big data” and social media, no other currency is more valuable or as fungible as personable data. As the WSJ recently reported, sites like “Facebook is selling you and may be grabbing and sharing more personal information than many users realize.“
But as willing contributors to the social media ecosystem, what exactly is the monetary value of our participation to social media companies? Backupify, a cloud-based data backup company, recently did some quick back of the envelope calculations to figure out how much social data is worth. They divided the estimated valuation of various social media companies by the number of users and contents on each site; these calculations yielded a rough value of how much each user contributes to a company’s valuation. This is obviously not the most financially sophisticated way of doing such a valuation, but it does give us a rough idea of how much a tweet on Twitter or a pin on Pinterest is worth.
So, according to Backupify calculation, a tweet is not worth much at all (8,876 tweets to make $10) and a pin on Pinterest is actually more valuable in terms of the revenue that it can generate (20 pins to make $10). Do you agree with these valuations? Let us know what you think.
* Written by Philip Mai with contribution from Anatoliy Gruzd
** This infographic is made available courtesy of Backupify; they are wholly responsible for its content. It is posted here by the SocialMediaLab.ca for informational purposes only and the inclusion of this link should not be construed as an endorsement of that website or the site’s owners (or their products/services).