Facebook investors bought into the hype

A man stops to photograph NASDAQ in Times

A man stops to photograph NASDAQ in Times Square as Facebook debuts on the stock market in New York. (May 18, 2012) (Credit: AP)

How do you "like" that?

After all the breathless frenzy over the Facebook IPO, the most-anticipated new tech stock since the last most-anticipated new tech stock hardly went anywhere. With a final-hour beat-down of instant buyer's remorse, shares closed less than 1 percent above the $38 initial-public-offering price.

With Facebook friends like these, who needs a well-connected broker anymore? Just leave your money under the Posturepedic or in a Starbucks cup.

Even Wall Street optimists were chagrined. You know the optimists I mean. The ones who believed a Web "community" could really be worth $104 billion. The ones who were predicting a first-day moon launch to $54.

This is what happens at times like these. When things are tough all over -- as lately they have been -- people believe in fairy tales. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg had an irresistible one.

Nerdy Harvard boy makes a Web platform in his dorm room. The platform attracts users around the world. Revenue projections are whatever you want them to be. Continued growth can't be gauged. But the site sure is big and famous, and everything else feels like slow and grinding work.

With the markets already battered on big opening day, look who did well and who did not.

Facebook's techy cousins were mostly stuck in the mud: LinkedIn down 5.7 percent, Groupon down 6.7 percent, Zynga down 13.4 percent.

The few advancers? Companies that make and sell, you know, actual things.

Foot Locker, up 8.3 percent. Winnebago, up 1.8 percent.

Forget logging on to the Internet this beautiful but dicey weekend. Run to your motor home and lock the door right now.

I.P.O.

1. Initial Public Oops

2. I Plead Opportunist

3. I'm Pooped Out

4. It's Possibly Offensive

5. It's Profoundly Overpriced

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Can't we all just agree: It'll be news when LI kids DON'T win at the Intel science fair? . . . What's the cheap-chic Mystique in Manhasset? Wait, did I just use cheap and Manhasset in the same sentence? Now that's a Miracle Mile! . . . Those World War II re-enactors camped near Old Bethpage Restoration Village, are they really spending the whole weekend without Internet access? How will they settle their historical-authenticity debates? . . . A slice of OxyContin with extra cheese? Were painkillers an off-menu special at Miceli Brothers Pizzeria in West Babylon? . . . Who needs a high-school diploma? Syosset senior-class president Josh Lafazan swept to a seat on the Board of Ed . . . Did liability jitters really keep lifesaving defibrillators out of Memorial Park in Kings Park? Or was it a just passing flutter of exaggerated concern?

THE NEWS IN SONG: Donna Summer, "She Works Hard for the Money," tinyurl.com/ipoless

LONG ISLANDER OF THE WEEK: KEVIN J. CONWAY

It wasn't like Kevin Conway had extra time to burn. A busy Wall Street investment partner, he had work and family plus charities in the city and on Long Island. He certainly could have ducked the SSP. "But every year, I'd go to the annual dinner," he said. "Two or three students would speak. And before I hit the sidewalk, it was 'Sign me up again.' " The Student Sponsor Partners (www.sspnyc.org) send at-risk kids to private school, committing the tuition money and one-on-one time to keep them there and guide them through. It's a role model for a kid in need, a new educational environment and someone checking in. Fifty-two hundred kids, who compete to get in, have gone through the program already. "It's the best bang for the buck you can imagine," Conway said. "Direct and personal, clear and provable results. The graduation rates and the turnaround stories will literally make you cry."

Email ellis@henican.com

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