So, I joined Facebook a few weeks ago. I’m not usually one for the social networking sites, but I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I had only been to MySpace twice before, net amount of time spent on that site: 2.4 minutes. I figured if I’m really going to get into this Web 2.0 space, I should probably understand all that comes with User Generated Content or UGC sites. So on I go and two weeks later I have over 80 friends networked to my profile and I belong to several groups and networks of other like-minded people. The friends I have are actual people I’ve met in my “Real Life” (RL)- from acquaintances to great friends.
Part of the process of signing up is that Facebook suggests a scan of my email address book to first check and see if they are members of Facebook and to second, SPAM them a nice invite to join now that yours truly has graced the network with his presence. A few people I know trickle in that way, others find me via friend links from other people (you can only view the profiles and friend lists of people you authorize as your friends). And then an amazing thing happens: people start messaging me. I get “poked” (a low commitment action); I get posts on my public “wall” (a low-med commitment action); and I get private messages (a med commitment action). I say these interactions are amazing because these are almost all people who know my email address, they’ve been in my address book for years. All it would have taken anyone is a quick 30 seconds to bang out an email to me to reconnect.
Email is a high commitment action though, I guess- I’m just as guilty as next person for not keeping in better touch with everyone. I also find myself posting on friend’s walls and messaging folks myself. A year ago this month, Facebook was valued at half a billion dollars: $550 Million. At that time they had 7 million users. Today Facebook has over 18 million users, over half who log in every day! Valuations continue to climb and are now well into the speculative billions. 1,000,000,000’s – that’s a lot of dough for creating a place where people don’t have to feel email-level-commitment to keep in touch.
I’m looking forward to seeing where the Facebook community winds up. Social networking sites seem to be like popular nightclubs downtown- the hot destination today becomes yesterday’s news before you know it. I joined Facebook’s party in, what I’m guessing, is coming up on its peak. It’ll be interesting to see what the founder and investor’s exit strategy will be and how long they’ll hang on to this fickle gold-mine. They’ve already turned down $750 Million from Viacom and $1Bln from Yahoo. Not a bad exit for a 22 year old entrepreneur.
- Over half of their users log in daily.
- They’re now at 30 billion page views monthly.
- According to comScore, they are the 6th most trafficked US site, and account for 1% of all time spent on the internet.
- They have more than 1 billion photos on the site.
- To keep up with the huge amount of data that needs to be rapidly accessed at any given time, they utilize 2 Terabytes of RAM distributed across many Memcache servers.
- Their fleet of servers are hosted across two co-locations.
- Their search infrastructure fields 600 million searches each month using a 200-gigabyte search index, featuring real time updates.