Facebook Rules the World

post date: December 13, 2008

A screen shot of my Facebook page.
I used to say that bloggers rule the world but that was so last year. Time to get over it and move on to the latest and greatest, which means having a page on Facebook. In case you don’t know, Facebook is the # 1 social networking website. This is where people young and old (more young than old but that’s changing fast) go to meet and greet and connect and reconnect. It’s where we share our status, our pictures, our notes, and we let you know our favorites movies and quotes and some of us spend hours playing games like Word Twist while others surf around to see what’s up with everyone else. We compare friends and pictures and fun stuff like that.

Okay, so you’re thinking this is the latest fad, like the Hula Hoop or Silly Putty. First of all, the Hula Hoop did pretty well and so did the Slinky and Silly Putty and the Frisbee. Being a fad isn’t so bad. 

For thoes who want empirical proof of the importance of Facebook, check out the Google Zeitgeist (don’t you love those German words) 2008. Google researchers studied the top search topics for every country in the world. Studying what people search for is a good way to spot emerging trends. So guess who’s number one worldwide on the 2008 search list? “Sarah Palin.” Number 2 is “Beijing 2008.” And number 3 is “Facebook login.” The global top ten includes “tuenti” at 5, “Obama” at 6 and “nasza klasa” at number 7. And something called “wer kennt wen” was number 8. 

A little research reveals that “tuenti” is a Spanish social-networking website, “nasza klasa” is a Polish social-networking website, and “wer kennt wen” is a social-networking website based in Germany. That means that four of the top ten searches worldwide involved social networking. By the way, “zeitgeist” means “spirit of the times,” and this ranking tells us that many people use the Internet primarily to connect with each other. If you check out the rankings by country, you can see the trend across the board. In the “Fastest Rising” category, Facebook is number 3 in the Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates, number 1 in Columbia, number 7 in Denmark, and number 2 in France, Australia and in the U.S. (behind “Obama"). 

What does this mean? Lots of things, but mostly that people want to feel connected to each other. The world is not only flat, it’s really one huge community joined by iPhones, iPods, IMs, email, YouTube (another popular term worldwide) and by Facebook. That’s why I’ve got a Facebook page and (as of the moment) 963 friends. Not that I actually know all of them personally but we’re connected in a way that makes us part of a family, and in a world like this we all need all the friends we can get.

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Ray Pritchard
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