If you’re online these days, you’re most likely on Facebook in one way or another. Whether it’s connecting with friends on another coast (or country) or playing your favorite Zynga game (my current favorite is Scramble with Friends), you’ve ‘liked’ your share of pictures, comments, and companies. On May 18, 2012 the frenzied questions around Facebook’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) will finally be answered.

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As a consumer, what does this mean for you?
Some of the larger companies will consider pulling their advertisements off Facebook.  Others believe it is vital to social strategy in marketing. Are you going to lose connections to the brands you hold near and dear? Probably not.
Chances are, if you’re a loyal customer of one brand, Facebook presence is irrelevant because you’ll buy the product anyway. But Facebook has changed, and will continue to change, the game of advertising.
One aspect that many users are concerned about is their privacy.  In order to bring in advertising revenue, specific user data will be necessary, which entails monetizing consumer data: Who is buying what products, and why are they buying them?
The one upside to the IPO in this regard is that any decision to change privacy settings (which they have done many times) will be public knowledge as they will have to share that information with their stockholders.
What you won’t have to worry about, though, is that, whether the product is on Facebook, at your local grocer, or on an ecommerce site, ConsumerBell will still be here to keep you informed about product safety. We work hard at Making Safety Easier so you don’t have to.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook, as one of the largest “countries” in the world, will do as a public entity. Everyone is itching to see if the IPO will get Mark Zuckerberg out of his hoodie. If I were to guess, I’d say he’ll just buy a few more with his new fortune. That’s what I would do.

(Photos by Sean MacEntee and Robert Scoble)