Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Much Ado About Facebook, Follow-Up

Last night, I tried to clarify how Facebook activity should be applied against the general population. Counting members of a Facebook group and dividing by the Canadian population is grossly inaccurate.

I concluded by pointing out that the Facebook group totals were a moving target. If the ratio of new members per minute held, by the time of this post tonight, the group membership should be 73,616. I fully expected that the number would in fact be much lower, as sustaining 18 new members per minute did not seem plausible. At some point at night, the majority of Canadians are sleeping, right?

Heh, either we're a nation of night owls, or the rate of new members accelerated today. As of right now, 21:38 Eastern time, the Facebook group total is 75,418.

I think that's telling. To meet that total, 20 people per minute over that last 24 hours joined that group. Let me repeat that, 20 people per minute. 1 new member every 3 seconds. That is not an "insignificant" number.

I think it doesn't matter, but extrapolating as percentages of the Canadian population:

If 40% of Canadians are on Facebook: 0.54% of Canadians are "mad"
If 20% of Canadians are on Facebook: 1.12% of Canadians are "mad"
If 50% of the Facebook population over the age of 24 are politically motivated, then 1.71% of Canadians are "mad"

Why I think the percentages are irrelevant. The rate of growth is impressive for a social tool that is used mainly for entertainment. Given the faddish nature of online participation, the staying power of this growth for more than a few days will be equally telling.

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