Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

Summary: Facebook has baffled everyone from the very beginning, no-one quite estimating how big this social network would become. After reaching 200 million users last week, there is cause for celebration in the Facebook office.

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Facebook has baffled everyone from the very beginning, no-one quite estimating how big this social network would become. After reaching 200 million users last week, there is cause for celebration in the Facebook office.

From presidents to students, to civil servants to window cleaners, Facebook has changed the way we communicate with our friends, partners, siblings, our family and work colleagues. If Facebook were a country, it would be the fifth biggest country in the world, according to a video posted by the Facebook team.

To celebrate the milestone, Facebook has teamed up with over a dozen organisations and charities to help raise funds for their causes, including the American Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund and the Women for Women International group. By sending a gift to a friend on the social network helps raise vital funds for these charities to support and help others.

So what is the next step for Facebook?

The problem is, is that I don't know. I cannot foresee anything for the near future that Facebook could possibly do which could make any more of a difference than it already has done. The site already allows ordinary users to make decisions as a democracy as to how any major changes should be played, and after turning five year old only a couple of months ago, have they already done all they can do?

Facebook will continue growing until either the company cannot handle the amount of users anymore or a third-party company takes away the power. As a student, I can see no more potential in Facebook than what we have already seen, experienced and felt; the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

Maybe I am starting to go soft, and worry about the influence this social network has on every day people. The fact of the matter is this; with 200 million people in an online community, sharing and living, breathing and contributing, does Facebook need its own government? Can a team of three-hundred strong employees in a privately owned company really cope with the amount of users which rely on the site for so many aspects of their lives?

This could turn out to be an interesting one... have your say and comment back.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration

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27 comments
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  • Here is how it will go down.

    Facebook is like most net trends, they last until they become too
    popular and mainstream then it stops. Like chat rooms... anyone
    remember those?

    When people grow tired of Facebook (usually occurs when the friends
    stop getting added) people will see it as a useless and uninterested
    window view of people's boring lives. Thats when we all retract
    everything we exposed and go back to our normal selves again.

    However if facebook wants to remain relevant in people's everyday
    normal lives, allow users to create @facebook.com email addresses,
    and allow for bigger inboxes.

    That would make facebook an ever more permanent mark in the
    underpants of the intarwebs.

    iHype
    • E-mail is no alternative

      Facebook has a useful niche. For me it lets me stay in contact with relatives that I would else wise hear from only once a year. It also allows me to reconnect with old friends that I don't talk to often.

      Following people's "boring lives" has nothing to do with it.

      99% of it is white noise, but that other valuable 1% of truly interesting/important events would otherwise be inaccessible.

      Social networks connect people even when they are too lazy to send a specific message to a specific person or group.
      T1Oracle
    • Sounds like Second Life

      Hey you can fly around with wings! and . . . BIG YAWN! What great graphics - what vacuous content. Who still uses this sizzle (not steak) - other than IBM?
      Roger Ramjet
  • 200 million people...

    ...with no lives.
    ths40
    • Troll sense is tingling

      However, 0/10 on that attempt.
      zenotek
      • One of the 200 million checking in I see. (nt)

        ...
        IT_Guy_z
  • "so many aspects of their lives"

    I'm not sure how many people find Facebook as a necessity, rather than a pseudo-blog or super-twitter.

    Facebook could disappear tomorrow, and people would migrate to another service if they really needed to.

    As for your lack of future vision, Facebook can easily evolve in many different ways. It can go into LinkedIn-type services, business communications, a more highly-featured mobile platform, dedicated photo and video services to compete with youtube and picasa, a robust social gaming platform, etc.
    coffeeshark
    • !1

      I feel nothing but pity if one cannot live without Facebook.

      It may be "convenient" but what does it provide you can't live without if say they started charging $5/month to keep your account active?
      wkulecz
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    "The problem is, is that I don?t know. I cannot foresee
    anything for the near future that Facebook could possibly
    do which could make any more of a difference than it
    already has done."

    What a stunning lack of vision. I'm sure the same thing
    was said by naysayers of the FB concept when it came out
    - "What does FB do, that you can't already do in other ways
    such as web pages, email, etc." ?

    When I first became aware of FB, I was a bit skeptical but
    gave it a try anyways. Yes, there's lots of noise. But as
    another post here said, that 1% is GOLDEN.
    vince20
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    Why doesn't Facebook take the lead in a term I will
    call "Green Advertising." By that I mean that it is
    tested, tried and it true. Stop all the spam-type
    advertising on the Facebook site that is made up and
    not validated. This would add a level of truth to the
    site that we would value over other sites. Instead of
    having to go through and decide whether the ad is flat
    out lying, we could rely that someone or group at
    Facebook validated it. This could revolutionize
    advertising on this site. Rejection of ads that are
    spam-like and not for our benefit. That is why it is
    Green Advertising. Good for us, the economy and the
    environment.
    icboulder
    • Actually. . .

      Rather than expecting the Facebook organization to vet ads, which would drive their expenses through the roof, allow users to tag ads, as to their veracity.

      One user says 100% trust and I'd still be pretty skeptical. A hundred users giving a aggregate veracity score of 70% I'd figure it was a typical commercial ad.

      To make that sort of process work, it would have to be both simple and 'bot resistant. Say, right click, enter the score and a CAPTCHA and return.

      "Microsoft delenda est!"
      CodeCurmudgeon
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    Wow, you mean people actually use Facebook? Wow!

    RT
    www.Privacy-Center.net
    RTTECH82
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    I have no issue with an e-mail entity on Facebook however, I would totally support being able to view a profile prior to adding as a friend.

    TenFeet2Hands
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    Facebook is sophmoric. The 200 million are probably not all active. Those that are, are probably just checking it out. Giving it a go so to speak. Once they realize it doesn't help them with what is really important in their life I think a lot of them will drop it.

    Then Zuckerberg will wish he took the billion.
    johndonnelly1
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    I think a "social network" presence is becoming as "common day" as say email accounts or cellular phones. I have some not-so-fond recollections of upgrading my cell phone plan every few months, adding additional minutes to accommodate my growing circle of friend (or was it my growing preference for reaching out to them on-the-go?).

    Then... I discovered text messaging. Formerly, it was that sneaky thing the sent my bill through the roof every other month, but for only $20, I could have unlimited texting. Added. Done. And subsequently, I moved my cell phone minutes DOWN. I saved money by learning to communicate in shorter phrases. (Please don't text and drive, people.)

    Now, let's throw Facebook into the mix. I have a network of 260 friends, probably half of which I rarely if ever communicate with. (More for show... and who was I to turn down a friend request from that guy that sat a few rows behind me in Intermediate Algebra... I think he had brown hair...) I regularly communicate with an "inner circle" of 40 or so. We post, comment, link, tease, reminisce, plan events, share successes, console... you name it, we're finding ways to do it online.

    At some points, I even get texts saying "get on Facebook" because IMing is faster than texting.

    My point is this:
    I've accepted Facebook as a permissible way to communicate. And with statistics like this, I don't see it going away anytime soon.

    My question:
    What's the right way for businesses to enter these spaces without offending, and what's the right way to build relationships between consumers (in a clearly social forum) and business (who seem most often "outsiders looking in")?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Bryan D Jennewein
    Dir Social Media
    infoGROUP
    Bryan.Jennewein@infousa.com
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/profile.php?id=609215260&ref=profile
    Tweet2Market on Twitter
    Bryan.Jennewein
    • Business use. . .

      I'd advocate having senior people in your business sign up and start talking about what they do and why they believe your products are great. NOT PR people. NOT secretaries. Principals only.

      Of course, I remember the days when you called a software vendor about a technical problem and you talked to the guy (or more rarely the gal) who actually wrote the program. . . It both got results and kicked the company's credibility into the stratosphere. It certainly was a lot better than talking to a service tech who is at a loss if it isn't a problem in their script.

      "Microsoft delenda est!"
      CodeCurmudgeon
  • I think you're out of touch

    To call it sophomoric is... Well... Sophomoric. Just because it's not valuable to you doesn't mean it's not valuable to millions of other people--intelligent, mature, socially well-adjusted people.

    I've been using Facebook for a while, and love it. It has allowed me to get in touch with old friends, co-workers, and schoolmates with whom I've not had contact in ages, but whom I've often wondered about. It has enriched my life, and done the same for the lives of a great many others.
    ParrotHeadFL
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    Curious... I would fall into the opposite group. I adopted Facebook and now use it as a central communication and connection medium for several facets of life: business, hobbies, personal, etc.

    A similar argument could be made for cell phones. My family, for example... both of my parents have a cell phone, however use it perhaps once or twice a month. Never more than 10 minutes. They still count as active users, just not as frequent as some others.

    So maybe frequency of usage is fluid, with respect to successful growth in users?

    Bryan D Jennewein
    Dir Social Media
    infoGROUP
    Bryan.Jennewein@infousa.com
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/home.php?ref=home
    Tweet2Market on Twitter
    Bryan.Jennewein
  • About ready to die

    Anyone who relies on a website on so many aspects of their life does not really have one.
    ThePrairiePrankster
  • RE: Facebook reaches 200m users; is it too powerful?

    I disagree (respectfully). I've found that things like Facebook have enhanced my life.

    Here's an example to illustrate my point:

    In my spare time, I teach fitness classes for a local gym (BODYCOMBAT and BODYPUMP). Attendance varies, but I found one day that a participant had "friend requested" me on Facebook. I added her.

    Over the next few weeks, a few more connected, and soon I was getting requests for class through my Facebook account. They'd ask for the favorite tracks, submit health and fitness questions, or even just comment saying "Awesome class last night, thanks!"

    So I created a "group" or "page" for my gym's group fitness program and invited them to join. We're up to 51 members, and I use Facebook to communicate with them daily.

    The result... we have a stronger connection with them than ever before. Retention is through the roof. Attendance is up dramatically. Facebook, it seems, was a fantastic way for us at the gym to build better relationships with our class participants, and because of that connection, (fitness) business is better.

    For my life, and my participants' lives, that "website" has brought us new inspiration and motivation for our lives. It's a tool, like any other. This particular tool worked quite well for us... but it may not have worked so well for you.

    My advice... be cautions of any generalizations, and be willing to let these things surprise you.

    Bryan D Jennewein
    Dir Social Media
    infoGROUP
    Bryan.Jennewein@infousa.com
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/home.php?ref=home
    Tweet2Market on Twitter
    Bryan.Jennewein