has every reason to smile; according to analyst Gregory Lyons of iCrossing, Facebook
will reach 1 billion users in a matter of months.
Facebook has already cruised past 800 million users worldwide, a mark it just hit about 10 seconds ago, and membership continues to increase as users in nations such as India and Brazil join the party.
Said Lyons in the iCrossing post, “Using a process of linear regression on the data from the end of 2008 onwards we expect Facebook to hit a billion active users around August 2012. Looking at the data from 2006-mid 2008 it looks like Facebook was growing at an exponential rate, however more recent data suggests it’s growing in a linear fashion.
In other words, although the Facebook boom is over, its growth continues steadily and unabated.
An interesting note on Lyon’s stats is that growth in the U.S. and UK has slowed dramatically or stopped. This isn’t terribly surprising, as both countries are full of early Facebook adopters, and the total population of both countries combined is only about 370 million--not even half of Facebook’s current user base.
As the population of the planet approaches the 7 billion mark, the idea that 1 in 7 of all living human beings is on one social network is staggering, especially considering that the world population total includes children, who can’t (legally) even join Facebook until the age of 13, and untold millions of people without any access whatsoever to computers.
iCrossing statistics for global Facebook usage
Granted, lots of people have multiple Facebook accounts (whether to have a “public” and a “private” profile for any number of reasons), but the statistics are still mind-blowing.
More importantly, what does this mean? Is it a good sign that the world is getting smaller as we’re better able to connect to people across the globe? Facebook can be a great benefit on both a grand scale and for individuals. In recent months, we’ve seen how social networking can subvert unjust regimes, and anyone on Facebook knows what a great tools it is to stay in touch with far-flung friends and family.
But in the back of our minds, we know that there’s one guy that’s basically in control of all of it. We’re reminded of this every time Facebook’s format, policies, and options change virtually without warning and with no apologies on the part of its founder. Zuckerberg, whatever you think of him, is a man who turns the screws. Should we be worried about how much power he yields?
Oh, and remember when MySpace was a thing? Yeah, we barely can, either. Facebook has ushered in an era where social networking is no longer just a cool thing for the (English-speaking) 14-30 age group; it’s a ubiquitous part of the daily lives of hundreds of millions of people.