What Facebook Looks Like Today

Facebook's world mapBy now, everyone knows that Facebook has pretty much won the social media wars, as early entrant and rival MySpace hemorrhages employees as it tucks its tail between its legs and slinks away.

And Facebook itself is a good chronicler of the hyperactivity of Facebookers wordwide. Recently, it published some stats on “what 20 minutes on Facebook looks like.” Among the revelations:

 ~10.2 million comments uploaded every 20 minutes
 ~2.7 million photos uploaded
 ~2.0 million “friend” requests accepted
 ~1.8 million status updates posted
 ~1.6 million wall posts
 ~1.5 million event invites sent out
 ~1.3 million photos tagged
 ~1 million links shared

Fan designations (or “likes”) are now reaching stratospheric proportions for some celebrities. And who were the most popular in 2010 based the “most liked” status? The results show a major skew towards the younger generation … and toward entertainers rather than political, scientific or academic leaders:

 Lady Gaga: ~25 million people “like”
 Eminem: ~24 million people
 Megan Fox: ~20 million people
 Vin Diesel: ~19 million people
 Rihanna: ~19 million people

Where does President Barack Obama rank by comparison? He’s at ~17 million “likes” – right along with Bob Marley, Li’l Wayne, Justin Bieber and Shakira.

Personally, I found the trends in relationship status to be the most interesting. There were quite a few relationship changes … but perhaps not as many as you might expect considering that there are an estimated 600 million active users on Facebook these days.

For the record, here’s what happened with personal relationships in 2010:

 ~44 million people changed their status to “single”
 ~37 million changed their status to “married”
 ~28 million changed their status to “in a relationship”
 ~6 million changed their status to “engaged”
 ~3 million changed their status to “it’s complicated”

Notice that the number of people who migrated away from marriage were nearly equally matched by those becoming engaged or getting hitched. As the famous French saying goes, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

One thought on “What Facebook Looks Like Today

  1. Just wondering … I think it is certainly useful to use Facebook stats to get a glimpse of societal trends. The sampling is certainly more than large enough to be statistically valid.

    But, as an aside, I wonder about that 600 million-user number. What’s a user?

    When I was in the the radio business many moons ago, Arbitron would calculate “cumes,” (i.e., the total number of people who listen to a given station each week, even if for only five minutes), but also quarter-hour shares — the number of people who are listening during a given 15 minute period.

    Are those 600 million “members” Facebooks’s cume over the life of the company? It seems to me that could be deceiving.

    For example, Quantcast estimates Facebook had 135.1 million monthly unique U.S. visitors in October 2010. That would be their U.S. monthly cume. (I know they have a huge international membership, too.) But many of those visits would not be truly unique, since so many people log on to their accounts from different devices.

    So the real monthly cume in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is likely much lower, perhaps by as much as half.

    And then there are people who rarely use their Facebook account or have abandoned it … the people who have multiple accounts (including people who use the site to scam) … and people who have died but whose accounts live on in seeming perpetuity.

    My guess is a much smaller number of users — though still large — drive most of the traffic.


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