Is Facebook making us all the same?
We have our unique friends and interests meshed with our families, with a dash of our professional lives put in there for good measure. But, is Facebook really the place that highlights our originality? In the early days of the Internet (pre-Social Media), there was some worry that portals like Yahoo and AOL were delivering a very generic and sanitized media experience (much like broadcast television with limited and fixed choices). As publishing tools became more readily available and individuals began to harness the power of Web design, we became inundated with new, quirky and interesting types of media. This expanded further when images, audio and video became as easy to publish online as text. Social Media completely changed this direction again, enabling and empowering individuals to not only self-publish but to collaborate and share.
It's a Facebook world, and we're all just living in it.
- Facebook.com captures one in every eleven Internet visits in the US.
- 1 in every 5 page views occurs on Facebook.com.
- The average visit time on Facebook.com is 20 minutes.
- Facebook.com users are highly loyal to the website; 96% of visitors to Facebook.com were returning visitors in January 2012.
- Facebook.com's largest footprint is in Canada, capturing almost 12% of all visits in that market.
There's the Internet... and there's the Facebook Internet.
This begs the question: what does Facebook look like? Based on this type of data, the answer has suddenly become staggeringly simple: Facebook is us. While individual pages may be as unique as our individual fingerprints, we must realize that this type of ubiquity is great to find common ground but very difficult to have powerful moments of serendipity. Years ago, I made the argument that we need more than our own RSS feeds for information, because if all we're doing is looking at what we like, this (probably) would make our perspectives that much more myopic. It's something important to think about: if all we're ever doing on Facebook is looking at our own profiles (and those of people we know), it could well be disconnecting us from amazing and different opportunities that are right over the horizon.
I love Facebook.
It's an amazing channel to connect and share. That being said, I'm also very leery of any one, individual, place that commands that much attention. So long as there is diversity and not homogeny, it is powerful.
Let's keep it powerful.