❚ HALF A BILLION USERS “IS JUST A BEGINNING”. So said Colm Long today as Facebook director of online operations for Europe, in a video interview with iMedia, organisers of a London conference. In July the so-called “mother of all social networks” claimed its global audience of active users had grown from 150m to 500m [ie, half a US billion] in less than a year. Today Long claimed 26m of them were UK members which he described as “55% of the population”. This is of course total tosh, since 26m of the actual UK population of 61.79m comes out at only 42%.
If by any chance he meant the UK online population of 38.8m active web users [source, UKOM], including the 2.3m under-12s, his claim works out at an astonishing reach of 67%. (Remember that, according to Ofcom, nearly 40% of British households are not connected to the internet.) Either way, to maintain his credibility as a director of Facebook, Long needs to go back to his abacus.
In the video, Long speaks as he finds: “What we’re seeing is a dramatic shift of people bringing their real-world identities online… The fastest growing demographic is 35-plus, so it fundamentally changes how people think about social media. What’s more, you know these people are their authentic selves… sharing authentic information about themselves.”
Well, “authenticity” on the web is a pretty cloud-cuckoo concept, but we’ll let that pass. Elsewhere UK analyst Nigel Lamb has aggregated statistics for eight social networks, and deduces that one-third of Facebook’s UK members have household incomes between £30k and £50k, which would reflect its gradually ageing membership, and make advertisers smack their lips.
In America, Long says, Facebook has just launched an e-commerce platform to facilitate a payment infrastructure for members running businesses on the network. In terms of e-commerce, he believes, the half a billion “is just a beginning”.
❏ For example — Average user has 130 friends… The United Kingdom has the second highest number of Facebook users (5.54% of global audience) … 51.8% are female, hence 48.2% are male… The most popular brand pages in the UK are: Starbucks, Vodafone, BlackBerry, Espirit, Xbox.