Social networking is all the rage these days. Your kids are on MySpace.com. Your ex is on MySpace. Maybe you even have a presence on the dot-com hotbed that's signing up nearly 300,000 new users every day.
What if your portfolio was on MySpace, too? What if some of the great -- and not-so-great -- individual stocks out there opened up their own profile pages, subjecting themselves to MySpace's friend counts and user comments? Let's surf around this hypothetical world, digging into the personalities of some of the more popular stock market players.
Let's start with Big G. Naturally, Google's page wouldn't have any of the flashy, sometimes blinding wallpaper you find on some of the gaudy MySpace pages. Google would go with a clean white background, of course, with a friends list in the hundreds of millions. Here's a sampling of the user comments. . .
- Mr. Softy -- Jun 19, 2006 -- Wannabe! Uh, you hiring?
- Underwriter 4Eva -- You're too much, Goo. Two secondary offerings just months apart? You flatter me. You fatten me, too.
- You've Got AOL -- Dec 20, 2005 -- Thanks for the Add! Anyone hungry for the other 95%?
- Mr. Softy -- Sep 14, 2005 -- Kai-Fu? Where are you? We miss you, man. Come back soon.
- Mr. Softy -- Nov 17, 2004 -- Get off my land, son. You're trespassing.
- IPO Cynic -- Aug 19, 2004 -- Ha! You thought folks would actually pay $135 for your shares? You fool. Take that $85 offering and like it. You'll never be worth more than that.
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Intuitive's page would be crisp and precise, in true automaton style. Its network of friends would be growing with every speedy surgical recovery. The comments page would look a little something like this ...
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Jan 17, 2006 -- I love you. You're hot.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Jan 5, 2006 -- I hate you. You're not.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Nov 14, 2005 -- I love you again.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Nov 9, 2005 -- We should really be seeing other people. Goodbye.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Sep 6, 2005 -- I love you again.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Jul 28, 2005 -- I hate you. Really.
- Jim "Booya" Cramer -- Jul 26, 2005 -- I love you. Really.
The Apple page would look pretty. How could it not? The company that has used everything from a teardrop to a tissue box as inspiration for its computers, and made legal downloading hip with its stylish iPods, is a fashion-friendly runway model with legs to die for.
Apple's comments page would run the gamut of friends and misunderstanding foes.
Best Circuit Buy City -- Jun 19, 2006 -- Movie downloads for $9.99, you say? Me and my consumer-electronics superstore buddies don't like the sound of that. We put up with the music downloads. They were mostly loss leaders to get fannies into our store, anyway. We made it up in digital music players. But now you want folks to bypass our DVDs and watch movies on their iPods, instead of our high-margin flat screen televisions? You think we're stupid? LCD doesn't stand for Let's Close Down. You better cool it, bucko. This isn't a threat, but let's just say that things can happen around the store. Ooops. I dropped an iPod. Ship it back to Cupertino, boys. Sorry, customer, the only MP3 players we have in stock are Rios, Creative Zens, and these nifty SanDisk
(NASDAQ:SNDK)ones. Get the picture? Or should I say, don't get the picture?
Mr. Softy -- May 27, 2006 -- I'm loving those new ads. That chubby "I'm a PC" guy from Comedy Central is a real hoot. I'm not sure who you're spoofing on, but you go, girl. You haven't seen Kai-Fu around, right?
Iger To Please -- Oct 13, 2005 -- Let me scratch your back here, Steve. You don't know if the studios will take to your video-enabled iPods, so let me be your shoehorn. Your map to the Hollywood stars! I'll stock your iTunes video store with a lot of Disney
(NYSE:DIS)content. Others will follow. My name may rhyme with Eisner, but I'm not that guy at all. He blew a gasket over your "Rip, Mix, Burn" campaign, and I'm all like, rip, mix, learn! So peace, my friend. Don't forget to scratch my back in three months when I come waving $7.5 billion for that animation studio of yours.
XM Satellite Radio
You wouldn't expect just one catchall page for the popular satellite radio service. With more than 170 different digital channels, many of them commercial-free music streams, customization is the key. There would be dozens of specialized XM pages. The landing page would still have some pretty colorful comments, though.
Spirit of Terrestrial Radio -- May 25, 2006 -- Revenge is sweet. You're only going to close out the year with 8.5 million subscribers instead of 9 million? Too funny, slowpoke. You're only going to grow your user base at a 44% clip this year, not 53%. What's that? Revenue growth at many of the leading terrestrial radio operators fell last year? Your new subscribers are paying 30% more than they were at the beginning of last year? Let me get back to you with a better comeback ... after a long commercial break.
Oprah Winfreak -- Feb 9, 2006 -- Oprah Winfrey? You got Oprah? Awesome. If the Oprah and Friends channel has the same kind of influence as the Big O herself, this is going to be sweet. Sure, it's not as if you have exclusive access to the talk-show queen. She'd be nuts to give up her syndicated television show. Still, it's a good move, and with the competition quickly closing the gap in total subscribers, you're going to need it. Tom Cruise was right. I love this woman!
- Serious XM Fan -- Jan 9, 2006 -- I love your channels. From Opie to Oprah -- go Snoop go -- I can't believe I'm getting so much for just $12.95 a month. You've got it all. XM marks my spot, you all! Oh, what channel is the Howard Stern Show on? Bababooey! Bababooey! Baba--
Wrapping up the tour
Yes, it would be awfully entertaining if stocks had MySpace pages. You could walk through the ruins of the Enron, Worldcom, and Refco pages with self-penned "BRB" blog entries collecting dust. You would have Oracle
Perhaps this lighthearted romp may have some real-world implications on MySpace. Isn't the convergence of social networking and investor-relations-monitored forums really just a light-year away? Color me as a visionary with a sense of humor.
Then again, looking to the future without losing our edge is a common trait at the Rule Breakers premium stock research service. It's an interactive subscription service that offers market-thumping stock ideas and a wider network of investing-savvy friends than you could shake a MySpace stick at. Don't believe me? I've got a free 30-day guest pass with your name on it. If you don't like it, go ahead and trash me on my MySpace page.
After I go public, of course.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz isn't a MySpace addict, though his band's page has collected hundreds of virtual friends this year. He does own shares in Disney. XM and Intuitive Surgical are Rule Breakers selections, while Disney is a Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.