Five hundred million people have signed up for Facebook in the six years since it was founded. The company announced this staggering statistic yesterday.
Yet for some people, especially those in business, discussions about Facebook come with an eye roll and references to teenagers. To these people Facebook – like social media in general – is a fad that will soon fade away with the proper amount of patience. But that’s simply wishful thinking and a way to justify their own slow efforts to adopt a medium that is forever changing the way we communicate and interact – and is greatly influencing commerce and culture.
Let’s look at Facebook by comparing it to another phenomenon that took the world by storm: The World Wide Web.
The Internet went public in 1990 and hit 500 million users in 2001 – a span of 11 years. Facebook was founded in 2004 and logged 500 million users in six years. Facebook reached 500 million users almost twice as fast as the Internet.
Think about that for a moment. The Internet is ubiquitous. It has become a cornerstone for the way in which we do business in the 21st century. We use it for every aspect of our lives – from buying books, to booking vacations, to finding recipes, to sharing photographs. We get our news there. We use it to communicate. We do our banking there. We pay our bills. Web addresses are on packaging and in TV and print advertisements.
At this point, few people doubt the permanence of the Internet. Yet, Facebook is growing twice as fast.
In 1998, before the Internet had 300 million users, the following “online” companies launched:
These companies have become synonymous with the web and were founded at a time when the Internet was about three-fifths the size that Facebook is now.
Some other statistics about Facebook:
- More than one million web sites have integrated with Facebook
- 50 percent of Facebook users log in every day
- 500 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each month
- 25 billion pieces of content are uploaded and shared on Facebook each month
As I’ve written about before: Facebook is now a corporate necessary. Every company should be on Facebook page. Companies should no longer be asking if they should be on Facebook, but when and how they can be on Facebook.
Is your company using Facebook? If not, why? What’s your excuse for ignoring the fastest growing communications platform since the birth of the World Wide Web?
Photo by Daveynin (via Flickr)