Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Facebook Turns Five

Today is social networking site, Facebook's, fifth birthday and they are celebrating by sending everyone a gift... to give to someone else. Sounds like your Nana's birthday, huh?

In these few five years, Facebook has become the leader of the social networking circle, toppling venerable rival, MySpace, by amassing 150 million users in that short time (MySpace has 130 million).

Facebook started as a pet project in a dorm room. By the end of the first day, over 1000 Harvard students had registered and the network was soon extended to other colleges. In 2005, a survey found 85% of college students had an account. Stanford recently offered a course called "The Psychology of Facebook" and the professor who taught it is now offering a free course entitled, "Facebook for Parents."

In 2009, the fastest-growing demographic for the social networking site is non-students aged 30+; about half of the 150 million users are not college students. Further, analysts believe users spend about 30 minutes longer on Facebook per day than on rival, MySpace.

But Facebook has yet to develop a system of monetization and the economic downturn has led these same analysts to predict a 20% downturn in revenue for the social network this year. Still, the founders seem undaunted.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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