On my birthday, I received many greetings on Facebook from friends and family. So, let’s say for example that Hallmark sold 10 less cards (@$3.95 ea), the telephone company sold 10 less long distance phone calls phone calls (@$.60 minute), FedEx delivered no additional packages, oil companies sold no gas, and my friends did not deploy, say, 20 hours (@$25/hr) of human productivity buying stuff, licking stamps, or delivering mail in my honor. Total productivity savings can be valued over $500.00; or roughly $50.00 per message.
One billion messages are sent on Facebook every day. Each message sent and received constitutes a conversation. Each of these conversations has a value that can be expressed in terms of productivity saved and assigned a dollar value. Suppose that each Facebook message has a value of only $1.00 per person engaged in a conversation. That comes out to 730 Billion dollars per year of human productivity saved – enough to fund TARP.
Twitter is worth a cool 100 Million tweets per day. Let’s assign a net productivity gain of $1.00 per tweet sent (not received). If you think that tweets are not productive, follow the Iran Crisis; a revolution fought with liquid swords. So let’s assign Twitter $36 Billion per year in increased human productivity.
Next, according to Google analytics, about 100 real people spend enough time on my little blog every day to read at least one article. Suppose each blog article increases human productivity by $1.00 each. Technorati tracks well over 100M blogs. That is 10 billion dollars per day – or a whopping 3.6 Trillion dollars per year. Let’s discount that by 50% to only $1.8T in fairness to the skeptics.
The grand total is 2.5 Trillion Dollars worth of conversational currency – 2 times the 2009 national deficit and 5% of America’s entire debt obligation – and growing. Where is all this productivity going?
What’s happening is what’s not happening.
People are NOT sitting through hours of TV commercials anymore. People editorialize their own news and do NOT watch what is designed to corrupt them. People are NOT letting their ideas die unheard. People are NOT letting politics run them down and have now elected health care, the environment, and the end of warfare to the Presidency of this and other nations. People have become far more focused and more productive through the rediscovery of family, friends, Art, Music and social priorities over debt enslavement. Next, social media is coming to the neighborhoods.
Millions of people practice “social media” in their spare time. This is invisible productivity that effectively magnifies the productivity of others with an astonishing multiplier effect. Craigslist, CarFax, Zillow, Epinion, Amazon, and Expedia are all eliminating arbitrage opportunity and sending brokers scurrying for a real education. Product reviews are killing the scams and delivering the right product to the right market.
Maybe the Dollar is not so overvalued after all. Maybe the dollar deficit is counter balanced by this new invisible currency. Suppose the more inflation that occurs, the more this invisible currency will affect the overall economy. Suppose people are hedging dollar currency with conversational currency. Suppose social priorities are replacing Wall Street Priorities. Suppose we are approaching a new equilibrium rather than an impending free fall – except for those who try to control it.
Special Thanks to Megan Olson