SMUG Week in Review 2-24-08

It was a full week for Social Media University, Global (SMUG) students, of whom there are now 49 (up from 34 just a week ago!)

The Facebook Hacker Challenge was updated and expanded. Then a commenter raised the issue of whether encouraging someone to try to hack the group would constitute a violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. Your Chancellor decided it may be worth up to $200 to find out how secure Facebook’s secret groups are, but it’s not worth getting his Facebook account suspended, so I brought the challenge to an end.

Which is, I guess, a way of saying Facebook (even though it’s free), is worth more than $200 to me. That got me thinking that maybe a $15 billion valuation for Facebook isn’t all that outlandish; if you multiply 65 million active users by $200 each, that’s $13 billion. I may not be typical; there may be lots of users who would walk away from Facebook forever if you offered them five bucks. But I suspect many others wouldn’t trade their access to Facebook for $500 or even $1,000.

In one way, this back-of-the-envelope calculation doesn’t mean much. The fact that I perceive Facebook as being worth more than $200 to me doesn’t directly put money in Mark Zuckerberg’s pockets. But it does suggest that there will be a reasonable tolerance for Facebook trying to monetize its service, even if it means some minor annoyances, because users find Facebook so personally valuable anyway. Of course, the best scenario is one in which the targeting of relevant advertising actually enhances Facebook’s perceived value to users.

In other developments this week, SMUG got a great new URL: This is part of growing up from a blog that started on a whim about 19 months ago to an on-line higher education institution (even if it’s not accredited). The process was pretty painless on my end, and the total cost was $19 (although I did spend another $10 for the .com version of the domain, too.) I hope it’s not too painful for those who had subscribed to the original feed from, or the one that had been burned through Feedburner. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone for whom this has caused a problem (but then, if it has cut off their feed they wouldn’t know about this request, would they?)

We also added two new courses, for which there are homework assignments:

Remember, SMUG is built on the principle of self-paced, hands-on learning. Don’t worry if you get behind. The Curriculum section will always have an up-to-date listing of available courses in sequential order. Complete the coursework as you have the time and inclination.

Unlike traditional colleges and universities that offer degree completion through cohort programs, you don’t have to work at the same pace as everyone else. The SMUG cohort is always growing and accepting new students (15 in the last week alone). So you can’t get behind, because there’s no pace you’re expected to match.

Of course the other major difference between SMUG and other universities is they actually give you a real, accredited degree. And even the cheapest public universities charge tens of thousands of dollars for it.

At SMUG, the B.S. degree you earn has a double meaning. But since it’s free, and since you’ll be gaining a lot of practical knowledge and experience through the process, I’m confident you will find it an exceptional value.

Happy studies!

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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