If you saw the movie Social Network you know Mark Zuckerberg and his cohorts Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes launched what they called "The Facebook" from Zuckerberg's dorm room. It was supposed to be a social network exclusively for students at Harvard University but it quickly morphed into a social phenomenon that spread like wildfire across America and around the world.
Facebook has become a profitable, publicly traded business. It is so profitable that on its birthday it came close to returning to its 52-week, all-time high share price of $63.77. Shares traded up to $63.14 before settling down to close at $62.75.
It seems like yesterday it came public at $38 only to slowly move the wrong direction towards a 52-week low of $22.67. What a day that would have been to scoop up a bundle of shares, as the chart below illustrates.
For those who lost faith in the leadership of Facebook to grow sales and drive quarterly revenue higher, notice the orange line to help correlate how revenue growth drives up share price in today's stock market. That's the reason online transformers such as Amazon.com (AMZN) can trade at such rich multiples to earnings per share.
In celebration of Facebook's birthday it's good to point out that it took Amazon 20 years to hit a market cap of $159 billion. In just one year of trading publicly Facebook has almost caught up to the mighty Amazon with a market cap of over $154 billion. It's not only a social networking phenomenon, it's become a financial one as well.
Facebook captures more and more of its users time and attention. To some, like TheStreet's own Rocco Pendola, the social networking powerhouse has become somewhat invasive and "annoying." "Maybe I'm not alone in my criticism of how Facebook curates user news feeds these days," Pendola wrote.
He's picked up on the idea that "..Facebook continues to fail as it attempts to step on Twitter's (TWTR) turf as the modern day newspaper." Although that may be true, my point is Facebook, which I occasionally use, has a no-holds-barred approach to competing and succeeding. So far not even Twitter can trip it up.
From its nascent attempts to attract students at an Ivy League university to the amazing achievement of now being able to appeal to over 1.2 billion users globally (more than 750 million of these unique visitors log on to the site everyday), Facebook has achieved super-stardom faster than any online company yet.
As the great 19th century author Victor Hugo said, "There's nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."
Happy birthday, Facebook. You've connected the world and given us all ways to share ideas, insights, laughter and tears in a manner that no one could have ever dreamed possible.
At the time of publication the author had no positions in any of the companies mentioned in the article.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.