My 3052 Best Friends in the World

post date: July 7, 2010

Do you Facebook?

If you are reading this, the answer is probably yes, and since when did “Facebook” become a verb anyway? The answer is, since Facebook more or less took over the online world.

Don’t believe me? Check out these numbers from the official Facebook Statistics Page:

400 million users worldwide.
50% of active users log on every day.
The average user has 130 friends.
People spend 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

That’s amazing if you think about.
That’s amazing even if you don’t think about.
It’s just plain amazing.

I started thinking about it when I crossed the 3000 friend mark a few days ago. At this moment I have 3052 of the closest friends any person could ever have. Not that I actually know all those people. I have no idea about hundreds of them. But everywhere I go, I invite people to “friend” me on Facebook, and I rarely turn anyone down. Of necessity that means I’m using Facebook in a different way from a person who has, say, 123 friends and loves to stay in touch with each of them. 

When I signed up in early 2009, I was a skeptic about the social networking thing. But it didn’t take long to convince me. I soon discovered the power of Facebook. Whenever I write a blog entry, I post a link on Facebook so that Facebook users can click through to the KBM website and read the article. I learned that if people wanted to make a comment, they wouldn’t do it on the blog. They would go back to Facebook and post their comment there. 

In the beginning Facebook was mostly for college students. Then word leaked out and teenagers joined in. Then adults of all ages. I’ve noticed a difference just in the last year in that, a year ago if I was speaking at a conference and mentioned Facebook, only a few heads would nod in recognition. Not anymore. Today if I mention Facebook, everyone starts nodding and smiling. I’ll bet 75% of the folks I speak to are on Facebook, and that includes senior adults.

Then there is the matter of status updates. Some people never update at all, and you learn not to check their pages very often. Others update throughout the day with little tidbits of news. In terms of response, here are my top categories:

1. Anything to do with food.
2. Family and personal updates.
3. Eye-catching quotes.
4. Updates while traveling.

Facebook has become even more popular due to cell phone apps that make it easy to update. I use my iPhone app especially when I’m traveling because it’s really super-important for people to know that I just landed at the Detroit airport and I’m rushing to catch my connection for Allentown. It’s also important to advise people not to eat a “Chicago-style hot dog” at the Atlanta airport. If you don’t understand why that’s important, you don’t understand Facebook. 

I’m true believer now. And I regard my Facebook page as a vital part of our overall ministry, 

Social networking is here to stay. And Facebook has almost overtaken email and instant messaging as the preferred way to stay in touch. 

So for the moment, if you wonder what I’m doing, I’m probably Facebooking with a few thousand of my best friends. 

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