Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Stunning Growth of Social Networking

Facebook Now Consumes 5 Percent of Our Collective Internet Time
According to comScore, 5.5 percent of all time spent online in the U.S. during the month of November was spent on the social networking site.
The stunning growth of social networking is apparent in this statistic above, and as Facebook rolled out new privacy settings recently the number of Facebook members that kept getting thrown around in news reports was 350 million.

I have no idea how accurate that number is, although with 102 million visitors to Facebook in November being recorded by comScore, it's probably in the right ballpark.  350 million users would make Facebook, were it a country, the third largest country in the world. 

What Facebook (and other social networks) do well is that they allow the user easy access to an environment that aggregates in one place a variety of Web 2.0 tools--tools that specifically facilitate people connecting and conversing with each other.  The learning curve is low, the site is simple to use, and the payoff to the user is very, very big.  There are great lessons for us in how we design environments for connecting and sharing information, especially and importantly in education--and it's what's driving the development of LearnCentral, the work project I'm a part of at Elluminate.

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