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Who will like Facebook’s IPO?

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How much are our jokes, our stories, our likes and dislikes, our pictures, our family and friends worth? To you, priceless, but on the open market, perhaps as much as $100 billion.

We could find out as soon as today with the expected Facebook initial public offering getting ready to be unveiled in documents that will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Depending upon who is analyzing and who they’re talking to, Harvard dropout and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is seeking to raise between $5 billion to $10 billion through the IPO. If the latter, it would place the social media site’s total value between $75 billion and $100 billion, making it among the country’s most valuable corporations. Not bad for a company whose only marketable possession is what its users choose to post.

The IPO is being eyed by both Wall Street and Silicon Valley for what it portends for other social media sites such as Twitter and Yelp. So far, the market has not been kind to social media. Morgan Stanley has been tapped to take the lead in the offerings based on its experience in handling IPOs for Groupon, the online coupon king, and Zynga, the network game site. But while the initial sales were kind to the companies, their stocks have since dropped along with other social media companies. Investors are interested in seeing if Facebook can reverse the slide.

Facebok, though, is different from many other sites, not only because of its 800 million users worldwide (with the notable exception of China’s 1.3 billion people, who can’t get Facebook on their Internet), but because every click, every post, every “like” by its users, every game of Farmville and Mafia Wars we play adds more information and therefore more value to advertisers and other purchasers of the knowledge. And unlike many other sites, Facebook requires you to use your name and a real email address, no pseudonyms allowed.

One of the ancillary – or primary, depending on your view – results will be that the notoriously private Zuckerberg will have to open up his books and some of his operation to the public at large. That could create a blueprint for smaller competitors to hop on the Facebook wagon, perhaps even give a lift to Google+. It’s safe to say that’s probably why this offering has taken so long to come to fruition.

It’s mind-boggling to think a company that offers nothing more than a social experience can become so dominant in our lives and our economy. It leaves us with one question: Give us a “like”, will ya?

                                                                                                                                                        --JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

Senate President Therese Murray says she has concerns about consolidating control over the state’s community colleges, the Lowell Sun reports (via State House News).

Doctors who write prescriptions for opiates would be required to register with a state monitoring board to see who and where the drugs go to under a proposed bill.

Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says riders would prefer higher fares to reduced service, the Lowell Sun reports. Senate President Therese Murray says the MBTA needs more revenue, but doesn’t favor a gas tax increase, CommonWealth reports.

Davey also says the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy should plan to get by without any public dollars by the end of the decade.

The MetroWest Daily News has reaction from lawmakers to a proposal that would ban legislators from holding fundraisers during budget season, along with an op-ed from Sen. Jamie Eldridge, the lawmaker who introduced the legislation.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Bostonians honor former Mayor Kevin White at his Parkman House wake, WBUR reports.  Brian McGrory recounts White’s love for dogs.  Frank Phillips recounts the lack of love between former Boston Herald columnist Peter Lucas and White mayoral spokesman George Regan, which erupted on the set of WGBH-TV’s Greater Boston on Monday night -- an exchange that got so heated the segment wasn’t aired.

Lawrence’s fiscal overseer says he doesn’t control paychecks for no-show workers, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The newspaper, in an editorial, disagrees, calling the overseer’s stance “oversight without accountability.”

Governing looks at Springfield’s bid to become a resurgent city.

Middleboro selectmen approved a range of changes in the town’s three privately owned mobile home parks that affect rent increases, accommodations, and evictions.

The interim Fall River fire chief who was removed after a two-week stint in December for work irregularities and undocumented absences is now out on full medical leave for stress-related issues.

Springfield officials unveiled a master plan to revitalize the city following last year’s tornado, the Springfield Republican reports.

A candidate in last year’s Marlborough city council election has been indicted on voter fraud charges after allegedly submitting an absentee ballot in the name of a deceased resident.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, whose city has a large Portuguese-American population, sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the State Department to reconsider shutting the consulate in Sao Miguel the Azores to save money.

ELECTION 2012

Time says Mitt Romney takes control of the race. The National Review offers its regular conservative symposium to divine what Florida means for the candidates, the campaign, and the future of America. Poor phrasing choice: Romney says he’s “not concerned with the very poor” during an interview with CNN, the Washington Post reports. The Atlantic says Romney’s Florida victory was costly, but he should get a further bump in this weekend’s Nevada caucuses.

Newt Gingrich declared there’s still “46 states to go” after the results came in last night. Which is true, except that his plan to collect delegates in drips is harmed by his failure to get on the ballot in next week’s Missouri primary as well as the Virginia primary, which doesn’t allow write-ins. But Gingrich could still force a drawn-out Republican race, writes the Globe’s Christopher Rowland, something that could be damaging to the GOP’s November prospects.

Wonder who’s financing super PACs? The New York Times has a shiny interactive graphic answering that very question.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Obama administration details plans to refinance underwater mortgages, placing an FHA guarantee on the loans, and funding the program with a bank tax that a top Republican calls “dead on arrival.” The administration will also roll out bulk auctions of Fannie Mae-owned foreclosures.

Philip Edmundson, in a CommonWealth column, says workers comp reform offers wellness lessons for policymakers.

US labor official offers a prescription for creating jobs that singles out the incubator set up by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Governing reports.

Developer Arthur Winn is fined $100,000 but avoids jail time in sentencing on campaign finance law violations.

One downside of an improving economy could be a rise in foreclosures as lenders, wary of dumping too many homes into a down market, are more willing to move the houses with the increase in buyers.

EDUCATION

Can a dynamic young principal drive change at a low-performing high school in Springfield? CommonWealth asks.

HEALTH CARE

Pfizer recalls 1 million packs of birth-control pills with insufficient doses, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, more than 1 million condoms are recalled in South Africa, NPR reports.

The Globe editorial page urges the Legislature to hold off tweaking a law designed to rein in health care costs until it’s clear what the implications of the move would be.

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA may have hit record ridership of late, but that seems destined to be fleeting, reprorts the Globe, because of the fare increases and service cuts being considered.

Rep. Michael Capuano doubts that the state has the money to pay for the Green Line extension, and says public transit advocates should take whatever they can get, rather than insisting on a fully completed project.

Republicans are proposing a $260 billion transportation bill that would give states more say in how the money is spent, Governing reports.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Governing examines the smart on crime movement, just as CommonWealth did in its recent issue.

The FBI apologizes to a Fitchburg woman after cutting open her apartment door with a chainsaw and pointing their guns at her, the Lowell Sun reports.

Do sex offenders have a constitutional right to use a public library? WBUR’s Radio Boston analyzes the New Mexico case that raised that question.

A Level 2 sex offender from Ware was charged a second time with possession of child pornography, highlighting problems in state law with the classification of sex offenders, the Springfield Republican reports.

The Berkshire Eagle urges the legislature to reject a bill that would increase penalties for convicted felons who fail to comply when asked to give DNA samples after they have served their time.

MEDIA

A new iPad app aggregates long-form journalism, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

New software called open-source weave liberates data for journalists, the Nieman Journalism Lab reports.

TREASURE HUNTING

A Maine-based company believes there is up to $3 billion in platinum aboard a sunken British cargo ship off the coast of Provincetown, the Cape Cod Times reports.

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