Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

Summary: There may be an inverse relationship between jobs and Facebook growth. In other words, more jobs may mean less Facebook time.

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Are Facebook fortunes tied to whether Americans are working? That question is worth asking given and improved jobs picture and mixed signals about what constitutes an active user on the social network.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that 243,000 Americans were added to the payrolls in January. That sum was about 100,000 more than expected. Facebook's initial public offering documents landed a few days earlier than the jobs report and cited 845 million monthly active users. Do these figures have something to do with each other? Possibly.

Barron’s Randall Forsyth made the case over the weekend:

It can't be a coincidence that its roster of users swelled to over 800 million worldwide during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, as joblessness swelled and with it, free time to spend on Facebook. And in the U.S., jobs are growing in manufacturing and construction, where few people sit in front of PCs, while shrinking in information, finance and government, where most everybody does.

So, as Facebook users go back to work, they will have less time to update their pages and peer at those of others. And fewer office jobs also means less time goofing off at work looking at Facebook (which is broken up by watching videos on You Tube.) And folks who are employed and have a few bucks in their pockets might actually get out and have what used to be called a social life, as opposed to social networking.

Simplistic argument? Perhaps. But I'd argue that Forsyth's quips about Facebook may have some truth in them. We already know that LinkedIn is countercyclical. The professional networking site gains in a downturn as folks look for jobs. Is Facebook any different?

We all know someone who may be unemployed and spending an inordinate amount of time on Facebook when they probably should be on LinkedIn. Free time in many cases means more Facebook.

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22 comments
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  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Is it April 1st and the date time is off on my cell/computer? This is a joke of a blog post right?
    JeveSobs
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    I think your argument may have some merit however don't assume that the additional 243,000 back to work are all FB users and that this would have a significant impact on the activity of the world-wide 800million+ users.
    Bradish@...
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    I have always said that the only people I know that are active FB users are those who do not work full time jobs. In my case it's mostly kids and stay at home parents who spam all of us with incessant updates. To me FB is more like a video game than anything useful.
    LetsGoDiving
  • It's an interesting proposition

    Those not employed have a disproportionate amount free time to while away on the Internet.

    Working does have a tendency to curb such activity.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate -

      You know what they say,

      "work sets you free".

      Actually, the phase is "the truth will set you free" but I wonder who changed it, and why...
      HypnoToad72
  • I wouldn't worry about it. Out of work people spending all their

    time on facebook instead of looking for a job aren't going to stop being out of work any time soon.
    baggins_z
    • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

      @baggins_z
      good one
      cwallen19803@...
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Especially true if many of the newly employed work in offices like mine--the federal government--where Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media sites are blocked.
    paul613
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Simple. The popularity of iPads with cell Internet were caused by Sarbanes-Oxley, and the spying that companies had to do (then embraced, because, well that's what company security does!). Once people are back to work, they'll use their new iPads to Facebook while at work, and the boss can't spy on them!
    Tony Burzio
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    People are human. Some 40% of network traffic at work is Pandora, FB and Netflix. Go figure. Of course there aren't a lot of water coolers anymore too.
    rjm56
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Nothing, Steve Jobs will never come back, Thank God.
    mikroland2.0
    • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

      @mikroland2.0
      The traditional waiting period is 3 days, but never say never.
      cwallen19803@...
  • Facebook will decline slightly

    But people using mobile devices will Facebook from work whenever possible.
    Michael Alan Goff
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Slow news day, huh?
    Ginevra
  • Is this article serious?

    #1. The numbers from the BLS were cooked. #2. Any significant number of jobs won't be coming back. #3. Facebooking seems to be a past time for the actively employed, regardless.
    Jow_Blow
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Under the current administration why makes you think that jobs will come back? He is purposely hurting our economy. And don't come back with it's Bush's fault because he had 2 years where he had control of the House and Senate and still nothing was accomplished. Facebookers should just keep soaking up the 0s and 1s because it will be your only pastime for awhile!
    Ranpat86@...
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    I know Steve was gifted, but I don't think he is lazarus.
    Bozzer
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    Agree with the main idea of the article but don't expect it to change anytime soon. Expect "Facebook fatigue" to play a part also.
    ZJohnnyZ
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    FB has an international reach. Over 10% of users are from the US. The world population is currently 7 billion with a growth rate of 1%. That means an addition of 70 million individuals every year. Isn't this factor much more significant than job growth in the US.
    Tigerz67
  • RE: Facebook: What happens to active users when jobs come back?

    I have also noticed a correlation between my height and the number of Facebook users for the past few years. Base on my hypothesis, I don't expect to stop growing taller any sooner. :)
    cardinal4