Still think Facebook is a Fad?

If you are dealing with skeptics questioning whether social networking is worthwhile for your organization, maybe this post (and the Washington Post article that inspired it) will help you make your case.

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

In 2010, Facebook pushed past Google to become the most popular site on the Internet for the first time, according to two Web tracking firms. The title caps a year of rapid ascent for Facebook in which the social network hit 500 million users and founder Mark Zuckerberg was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. It also marks another milestone in the ongoing shift in the way Americans spend their time online, a social change that profoundly alters how people get news and interact with one another – and even the definition of the word “friend.”

“This is the most transformational shift in the history of the Internet,” said Lou Kerner, a social-media analyst with Wedbush Securities and former chief executive of Bolt.com, an early networking site. “We’re moving from a Google-centric Web to a people-centric Web.”

According to Experian Hitwise, Facebook jumped to the top spot after spending last year in third place and the year before ranked ninth. The company found that 8.9 percent of unique online visits were to Facebook this year, compared with Google’s 7.2 percent. Meanwhile, ComScore, another firm that calculates Web traffic, said Facebook is on track in 2010 to surpass Google for the first time in number of pages viewed. Each unique visit to a site can result in multiple page views….

Another interesting element from the story is the comparison of market valuations, which pegs Facebook at $45 billion, roughly a quarter of Google, despite the search giant having more than 20 times Facebook’s revenue.

This reminds me of a post I did three years ago, in which I said Facebook was worth more than the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Times and YouTube…combined.

Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and their Microsoft (MSFT) colleagues had given Facebook this $15 billion valuation, buying 1.6 percent of Facebook stock for $240 million.

This seemed like an outlandish valuation at the time, even before the 2008 economic meltdown sent the prices of everything crashing.

Facebook still isn’t publicly traded, but the latest figures suggest it has tripled in value in just over three years.

And now it’s the most-trafficked site on the Web, adding nearly a million users a day.

It has about 8 percent of the world’s population among its regular users.

If your organization’s work involves interacting with humans, Facebook is definitely worth your time and attention.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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