NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Warren Buffett once said, "The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves -- and the better the teacher, the better the student body."
Buffett was not only alluding to how
is disseminated, but also how it is received and its potential to guide our decisions. Information is vital for investors. What is done with it is up to the individual.
I often wonder if information is getting through effectively. Sometimes it is. Other times it is missed entirely. When the communication fails, is it the fault of the teacher or the student?
I ask this in light of my recent series of articles on the handling of social media giant
. Despite so much discussion regarding the subject, the "blame game" with this stock continues.
Do investors know how to use information? At what point does due diligence displace the constant need to want to be right? We see evidence of this with cultish stocks such as
, where investors are ignoring what the market is saying and then blaming the undesired results on unprovable claims, like "manipulation."
Another example is
Research in Motion
, the poster child for ineptitude. No stock has provided more evidence of how a cultish group of investors can willfully ignore information than those that are long RIM. As the stock fell to the $80s, $50s, $40s, $30s and then recently to less than $10, investors were willing to believe that the company remained just one good idea away from recovery.
They still insist on this idea, even though
, a cult stock in its own right, has its heel
on RIM's throat.
Even sadder for the RIM story, the company's management continues to let its investors know: It's over. Disappointingly, investors continue to criticize Wall Street and RIM's rivals, including
, as being unsophisticated and uninformed.
How's that for irony?
So I now wonder, are Facebook shareholders heading down the same cultish path toward investor disillusionment -- driven by an inability to embrace logic? I would like that to not be the case. And it won't be;
Following Buffett's observation on the intellectual contributions to society made by journalists, I have taken up offering due diligence on Facebook. After all, how better to make an immediate societal impact if not by discussing a company that has
at any given time.
I have written many pieces on FB, and have recently been branded a so-called "Facebook apologist" for suggesting that
on the company's stock is gone. That's because the stock bottomed at $25, as I said it would, while haters wanted to see it much lower.
My argument for FB's valuation was based on information readily available to investors, but ignored. For example, prior to the IPO, it was explained to those who cared to listen that the company had
to the likes of Apple, Google and
. Strictly from the standpoint of its $38 valuation, which placed it at over $100 billion, the comparison made absolutely no sense.
I then cautioned investors that the IPO had
of being successful -- or meeting investor expectations. This warning was not well received by investors who were already sold on the hype. They had already gone home, taken the tags off and matched the hype with other outfits that they planned to wear to the Facebook party.
Except once they arrived, they realized
and the gathering instead became a
However, while the stock was way overpriced at $38, it became a steal once
. Even then,
, who did not understand valuations on the long side, were now suggesting that it should go to $15 and possibly single digits.
Recently the stock closed at $30, lending further support to my
. Many readers were quick to criticize my trade without fully appreciating that their own exuberance and fears were the cause for the fluctuations.
Facebook was arguably a "cult" prior to going public by virtue of its addictiveness and the way it has changed society. By now, it has created a breed of investors that prefer to spend more time counting their "likes" than tracking the company's quarterly revenue and earnings.
I have yet to make up my mind about what that will mean in the long term. Like RIM, Sirius XM and even Apple, investors are buying into the cult, believing in an idea and focusing less on the business.
Although each of these companies has had tremendous business success, as cult stocks, each has had to deal with their own problems.
Both Apple and Sirius once flirted with bankruptcy, while RIM is ... well, it's still breathing, for now. However, none of them can brag about having 15% of the world's population already on its service while still being considered a "growth company."
For this reason, FB has its so-called "apologists" as well as those who
. Regardless of which side you are on, I'm sure that we can agree that Facebook now might well be the most polarizing stock on the market.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
At the time of publication, the author was long FB, AAPL and held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.