The Facebook Phenomenon

What is it with this Facebook deal?  I started gathering some facts from sites around the web.

As of the beginning of December, there were 350 million users.  On average, 50% of its active users log on to Facebook everyday.   (I’m one of ‘em…)

More than 6 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide). That is twice as much as the time spent on Google.  There are more than 55 million status updates daily. (I haven’t yet found how many there are on Twitter, but probably more than that!)

More than 70 translations are available on the site and about 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States.

The fastest growing demographic is the 35 years and older age group.  In 2009 the 35-54 age group grew 276.4%, and the 55+ demo is not far behind with a 194.3% growth rate.  Many people from this demographic are using Facebook to connect with high school and college friends, stay in touch with children and grandchildren, and even begin to use it for some business networking purposes.  In every single age group, there are more women than men.

More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site currently. (I get so many invitations to join silly groups, I usually ignore ’em.  Some are pretty good, though.)  Everyday, more than 10 million users become fans of Pages.  There are more than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook that have created more than 5.3 billion fans!  More than 3.5 million events are created each month.

Psychologists have introduced the diagnosis FAD (Facebook Addiction Disorder), as a new kind of addiction disorder.

An average user has 130 friends on Facebook.   I have more.  My “friends” can be sorted into different groups.  Family.  Friends I see regularly, and friends I have reconnected with from childhood, schools, etc. – this is the largest group.  I love getting back in touch with people with whom I was once close and catching up with their lives.  (At times it replaces phone conversations – all the updates and comments turn into chats among friends.  And there’s always  private chat, or messages.)  And I love seeing the photos!

People whose work I admire – authors, musicians, artists…I have more as “friends” than pages where I’m a fan, and I love reading their status updates regarding their books/concerts/whatever, and the interaction of comments.

And then my gaming friends.  In many of the games one needs friends/neighbours/house members/soldiers – in other words, more friends who play the game – in order to advance or to earn more points/coins/whatever or to gain an advantage.  So people in the games will request to become friends with others who play the same games.  It works out that if people regularly play one game, they usually play several, so one gains in all of the games.  Some of my gaming friends have become friends over time.  Of course, some of my friends and family also play some of the games.  And sometimes we form groups just to support each other in the games.

Inside Social Games publishes a list of the 25 most popular Facebook games each month.  In December 2009:

Of course, every time someone makes a new game, there are immediate copies.  FarmVille, FarmTown, (Lil)Farm Life, Fantasy Farm, and about 10 more based on the same premise.  Mafia Wars, Mob Wars, Mobsters, etc.  Castle Age, Age of Castles, Age of Chivalry, etc.  Some people like playing them all.  It gets way too repetitive for me.  I actually started out with FarmTown, and spent entirely too much time there…then more of my friends were playing Farmville, so I “built” a farm there too.  Now I rarely play FarmTown.  A lot of the games I try out, and then don’t bother to continue.  Some I play for a while, then stop. Friends constantly invite me to try new games.  Some I check out, some I don’t.  It’s a matter of time as well.

My daily/almost daily games?  Of the top 25:  Farmville, Yoville,  Happy Aquarium, Bejeweled Blitz (yikes, that’s addictive), Farkle, (FarmTown).  Not in the top 25:  School of Magic, Castle Age, an occasional game of Bingo.  A few more I play every now and then, usually when someone sends me something.  Kidlet also plays Farmville and Aquarium, so that it’s common to hear her yell from her room something like “Hey, Mom, I need a cow, send me one!”

It’s pretty funny when kidlet posts something to her friends, then when I respond goes “oops”, because she forgot that I can see it.  But that’s a whole ‘nother issue.

In any case, social networks like Facebook (Twitter, MySpace, eons, and more focused networks like Ravelry, LibraryThing, Steepster, etc etc etc) are changing culture and society.  How, and to what extent, is being studied and analyzed, and probably will be for a very long time.  I know people who on principle refuse to join.  Partner joined Facebook then closed her account.  It’s no longer a generational thing, as seen by the changing demographics.  How pervasive it is in our lives reflects a shift in how we as people interact.  I find it fascinating.

I have to go harvest my crops now…..


2 Responses to “The Facebook Phenomenon”

  1. Deb Baker Says:

    Pretty amazing statistics! I’m trying to limit my addiction to only one – Farmville- but I feel the magnetic pull. We are now neighbors!!

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