What, not on Facebook yet? Are you nuts? Do you want to be left out?
It seems like only the later-mainstream and the intentional non-joiners have not become part of Facebook-o-sphere in Canada. With members climbing to just over 33 milion overall and over 3 million in Canada, it's starting to reshape the landscape of the web.
I remember being on MTV Canada Live's show last month and having a mild disagreement with co-host Darren Jones on Facebook's advancing popularity vs. My Space (anticipated given My Space's fortress around the music and entertainment set). It would seem the enthusiasm and evidence I have for Facebook's prospects vs. My Space is even greater one month since. Why?
People are interested. Given a number of interesting and social applications. People are flocking to Facebook. Unique visitors are up +89% vs. last year according to comScore. People are spending a lot of free time wading through the nooks and crannies of Facebook. Hitwise claims that people are spending 3x as much time on Facebook than news and media sites. The average time spent every month by users on Facebook has climbed to 186 minutes/month according to comScore.
Developers are Interested. Given it's open source nature, developers are quick to adopt and develop new applications designed specifically for Facebook. Colin and Roy recently convened a Facebook Camp unconference of over 450 people interested in Facebook applications. There are now over 1,800 applications with 75% of users adopting at least one.
Bloggers are interested. Increasingly, Facebook is becoming a collecting ground for social media content creators. Facebook is becoming an extension of their blog through widgets and uploading their posts seamlessly. Infrequent bloggers have stopped blogging and are using Facebook as their proxy. In our 1% Army Tournament of bloggers, more than 90% of the elite Canadian marketing/media/digital bloggers particpating are already on Facebook, making it better than email to get the message out. I'm sure folks would agree an RSS feed might help Facebook out.
The Well Heeled Business set are interested. Perhaps surprisingly given its university roots, 40% of users are over 35 years old and Facebook is considered decidely more white collar than blue collar MySpace. According to Business Week, 48% of users have salaries over $75,000 and companies like Ernst & Young (16,000 members in their network) and CitiGroup (8,000) have amassed armies of well-salaried workers online.
Brands and corporations are interested. Previously, it was the domain of edgy players like Red Bull and Apple to lead the way on applications and sponsored groups. Now, forward thinking companies of the established set are onboard. Check out TD Canada Trust's just launched Money Lounge - the first Canadian bank to jump on the Facebook train and the plaudits they're getting for going first...
- "go TD! Congrats on taking this very forward-thinking leap. Great marketing initiative."
- "Félicitation à TD pour avoir pensé d’ouvrir un groupe sur Facebook. Je crois que c’est une très bonne initiative!"
As Ebay is to online commerce and Google is to search, the potential for Facebook to avoid "flash-in-the-pan" status and become the ongoing lightning rod for becoming the hub for the Social Web exists.
So for all you non-members, tepid business colleagues and privacy-mad personal friends , I hate to feel so cultish about this but why don't you jump in the pool, the water in Facebook is warm.