The 'Revolution' That Isn't

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For all that has supposedly changed in the new social media era, the recent Facebook (FB) fallout and self-immolation by Twitter is proving that not much has changed.

Anybody looking for a "revolution" in media is betting in the same way as investors got fooled by the Internet bubble in the late 1990s, and they should be very careful investing in that space.

Look at even the most simple facts and you come away convinced at how little the "new" social media is changing the way influence is spread. Today, Facebook shares traded at new lows at $21, losing 53% from its IPO price of $38 only two months ago.

This was, remember, the IPO of the decade, a new age of social media dispensing influence democratically, avoiding the stalwarts of traditional media and giving everyone an equal chance of creating and joining the conversation.

All that looks like hogwash now.

Want to see a chart of a media company that's doing well, making money, working a model for profits that is sustainable for another decade at least, yet was left for dead in 2009?

I give you CBS ( CBS):

Recalling the talk in 2009, CBS was going to fall to the onslaught of the new media, trading in single digits even with a strong dividend. It has clearly fought that trend back with a powerful rally that has more than tripled the share price since 2009.

Let's take the other great social media enterprise, Twitter, recently the rumor of a buyout from Apple ( AAPL). It's a terrific platform for instantaneous news and snarky comments, but in terms of those who have the most influence, they are invariably the people who have created their presence using the "old" media of newspapers, magazines and television.

Independent financial voices of strong bloggers generally max out their followers at under 100,000, with most strong voices under 25,000.

The independent and anonymous financial blogger @zerohedge, for example, has 106,000 followers while TheStreet's own Jim Cramer (with the help of two shows on CNBC) has over 550,000 followers.

Both Twitter and Facebook share the same financial problem becoming mainstream as well: monetization. Neither has found a formula to make money consistently, particularly as all the new media is moving from desktops to mobile applications. Most of the enterprise value in both ventures is based upon the possibilities of monetizing their huge followings, but neither has a real model that works -- yet.

The bottom line is to be wary of investing in new media prospects, but even more, of discarding the old media outlets as done. In the stock market, both are proving very well which model is behind the times and which is ahead of it, and it's not what you'd think.

At the time of publication the author had no holdings in the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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