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Is Facebook worth all the attention it’s getting?

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This post is written by Mirna Bard, a blogger, speaker and consultant. She serves as the social media chairwoman of the Orange County (Calif.) chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and she teaches social media at the University of California at Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Do you think Facebook gets more attention than it deserves?

  • It does not deserve this much attention — 47.62%
  • It is worth all the attention it’s getting — 31.22%
  • I don’t pay attention to all the hype around Facebook — 21.16%

Whether it’s offline or online, everywhere we turn someone is talking about Facebook — regardless of the network’s countless imperfections. Individuals complain about its privacy concerns but act like it’s the only game in town; spammers and hackers use it as their playground; social media “gurus” and Internet marketers swear by it; brands are too dependent on it; Google and other platforms are threatened by it; media can’t seem to stop reporting on it; and investors have declared their devotion — to the tune of a $50 billion valuation.

Granted, Facebook has 550+ million active users and quite a few accomplishments to its name — but does it really deserve all the attention it’s getting? Our poll respondents don’t seem to think Facebook is worthy of quite that much interest, and I enthusiastically concur with the nearly half of respondents who believe Facebook does not deserve this much attention. I also enthusiastically support the 21% of readers who said they don’t pay attention to all the Facebook hype.

Certainly, I use Facebook for personal and business reasons, but I’ve never paid much attention to the hype and think Facebook tends to be overrated. If Facebook were to go away tomorrow, I would survive and my business would still thrive. Given that I am a social Web consultant, my opinion of Facebook surprises many people.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to bash this strong social network. Facebook can empower unprecedented visibility and connectivity if used properly, but Facebook is not the world and it does not own the Web, nor will it ever. It also will not always be the shiny thing that everyone puts up on a pedestal, despite what many in the social media industry may say.

My theory that Facebook may not continue to be the holy grail of the online world may seem a little foolish right now, given its vast user base and the billions of dollars of investment it’s receiving. However, you should never assume that it will take over the social Web. We have seen this before in the technology bubble. That bubble did burst, didn’t it?

Are you putting all your eggs into Facebook because of the site’s popularity? What is your plan when all the attention dies? Tell us below what you really think of all the Facebook hype.