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There had been much hype over the last few days about the number of Facebook users dropping  in a few markets.

It was claimed that users in the US declined  from  155.2 million at the start of May to 149.4 million at the end of the month, and that its’ user numbers in Britain fell by more than 100,000 too.

I wonder if the entities making the claims expect everybody in those countries to sign up for Facebook?

More than half the population in the US and the UK have already done so, so one would imagine that, like any market, Facebook will find its’ level in time.  Does that mean that Facebook is going the way of My Space?

Let’s take a look at the numbers – Facebook is heading for 700 million users. More than half of the current users – somewhere over 600 million – log in every day. Average time spent on the site is between 23 and 55 minutes (*1).   With an average of 130 friends (*2) It’s hard to imagine that all those users are suddenly going to abandon it anytime soon. I think many would  find it harder to give up than smoking.

Despite all the criticism about privacy settings and the amount of information Facebook commands, the numbers continue to grow. The reason – Facebook is a social site and we humans like nothing more than to socialise. More and more users share their thoughts, their actions, their likes and their hates with millions of other users.

Is it any wonder that “Angel investors and venture capitalists have showered hundreds of millions of dollars on entrepreneurs with an idea for a new social networking business, but the money is parcelled among thousands of developers.

This is not the dotcom era of a decade ago when you had to invest heavily in servers and computer storage, and blow a wad on marketing to win visitors to your site. Now you pay-as-you-go, renting computers in the vast data warehouses created by the likes of Amazon, while marketing takes care of itself thanks to enthusiastic early users sharing their experience. *3.

Facebook – not so liked and less friends – I think not.

What do you think?   –   Mark

  1. http://www.quora.com/How-much-time-does-the-average-user-spend-on-Facebook
    2. http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
    3. Stephen Foley in “The Independent” 15/6/11.

 

*Footnote from Zoe

Facebook have been clamping down on dual profiles, particularly where users are setting up a profile for their personal use and then another to promote their business.

I can’t help but feel that the decline in Unique Users is a result of this action and in fact a very good thing.  Weeding out fake accounts and duplicates can only serve to strengthen the use by existing members.

If you currently have both a personal profile and a PROFILE for your business then you need to convert your business profile to a business PAGE immediately.  If Facebook locates your duplicate accounts they will delete both profiles!  And all your hard work in building these will be gone.

The difference between a profile and a page is that people request to be your ‘Friend’ on a profile while members chose to ‘Like’ your page.

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