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March 1, 2008

The State of Facebook

by deirdrewalsh

A friend of mine is tinkering with the idea of developing some cool applications for Facebook, so I decided to give a presidential-style update on the state of this electronic union.

To truly understand the present, we must first look at the past.  Here is a brief history on Facebook, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Spring 2004: Facebook founded in a Harvard dorm room by a trio of students as an online version of the quintessential “Meetbook.”  It spreads quickly to Columbia, Yale and Stanford.

December 2004: Facebook reaches beyond the Ivy League, has 1 million active users.

September 2005: Allows pre-college teenagers to post photos and profiles.

September 2006: Drops the dot-edu requirement, opening itself to anyone with an e-mail address.

December 2006: 12 million users are registered.

May 2007: Begins offering free online classified ads to members.

July 2007: The number of visitors spikes 89 percent, to 26 million.

December 2007: Facebook reaches nearly 35 million unique visitors.

Statistically speaking, Facebook is kicking ass and taking names…literally.  According to the Web site, there are more than 60 million active users, a number that doubles every six months.  Additionally, the demographics are changing.  Unlike its dorm-daze roots, more than half of the Facebook users are outside of college, the fastest growing age group is 25+ and nearly 44 percent of users in Dec. 2007 were 35+.   To me, these seem like a huge market for application developers.

While I don’t mind the occasional “Vampire” or the “Friend Wheel” profile widget, I would like to see more practical applications on Facebook. I recently read about Lending Club case study that integrated an online Facebook app with its Website and attracted $1 million in loans in the first two weeks.

My Friend Wheel

My Friend Wheel

I would take cold hard cash over this pretty picture of my friends names any day!

Additionally, I would like it to be easier to find and rate Facebook applications.  Currently, there are more than 13,000 apps built on the Facebook platform, with nearly 100 new widgets added every day.  There needs to be a better way to search and tag this content.  Although, I do still kind of crack up at the “Penis or Vagina” invites in my Facebook inbox.

Visit http://del.icio.us/deirdrewalsh/facebook to stay updated on the latest Facebook news


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