Why do "normal" people care about Facebook ?

A few weeks ago Shel Israel asked corporate communications at Facebook for some numbers on how they are doing and it turned out they are doing pretty darn good:

  • Over 150,000 Facebook registrants daily. That's 1 million a week since January.
  • 35 million users today on Aug 14th 2007!).
  • Half user are outside college. That number was zero in Sept. 2006.
  • Over 40 billion page views in May 2007
  • Average visitor stays 20 minutes
  • Most growth is among people over age 25.
  • 47,000 Facebook groups.
  • #1 photo sharing app on the web. 2.7 billion photos on site.
  • More than 2000 applications. The Top 10 are: Top Friends, Video, Graffiti, MyQuestions, iLike, FreeGifts, X Me, Superpoke!, Fortune Cookie & Horoscopes. The smallest of these has over 4.5 million users.

Wow...! The German Facebook network apparently grows by up to 1000 new members each day (right now it already has 77,954 members). Not bad, too.

I have the feeling that Facebook, although there is no localized version yet, is picking up steam even here in "ever-skeptical" Germany. Of course, it's just empirical evidence, but I keep getting more and more Facebook confirmation requests from German friends and contacts - even from people, who ignore business networking sites like XING or LinkedIn. At the same time German Facebook copycat StudiVZ (which is stuck in the students niche for now) quickly became the site with the most traffic in Germany - despite the fact that most German students only have at best a very "casual" interest in Web 2.0.

So why do these people now join communities like Facebook and not XING & Co.? Well, being the hardcore networker that I am, it's hard for me to grok, but maybe it's because the majority of people with "normal" 9-5 jobs (aka the mainstream) just don't care about business networking. But they do care a lot about private networking with friends & family - and that's clearly Facebook territory...

Related: f8club - a German blog about Facebook (via Nico)