November 23, 2007
Blimey .. it’s been something of a crazy 24 hours. I had a few spare moments yesterday and so decided to pull together some numbers from the Facebook advertising platform (which I’ve subsequently had to correct – that’s what happens when you spend about 5 minutes on an exercise!).
Knowing that they love all things Facebook I emailed Michael Arrington of TechCrunch with the data, and after a blur of emails the story made it to the TechCrunch homepage!
Here’s what that did to my blog stats (click the picture to see it full-size):
As you can see, just a small jump from my normal traffic!
I don’t include those stats here to brag, but rather to illustrate the amazing effect of word-of-internet when a story gets to one of the popular sites like TechCrunch, Digg, Reddit and so on. As it turned out, my data was somewhat erroneous (although there are still more females than males on Facebook according to the updated figures .. just perhaps not in such a large ratio), but that hasn’t stopped the story spreading through all the various sites that syndicate, borrow or steal TechCrunch content. There’s an amazing ‘halo’ effect of other sites – particularly blogs of course – mirroring popular stories in a hope that traffic will gravitate via topical searching and linkbacks.
This isn’t new, and the network effect of word-of-mouth or guerilla marketing has been around forever, but it is interesting to see it play out around your own site. You can see why so much effort is put into gaming stories onto Digg for example.
Anyway, I’m sure this will calm down as quickly as it came up. Shame I can’t carry Google adsense on WordPress – I could have made at least 50c out of this ;-)
[update: speaking of viral marketing, there's an interesting article on - surprise - Techcrunch today about marketing on YouTube]
November 23, 2007
A number of people have pointed out to me that it is actually possible to not select your gender on Facebook (something I was unaware of I must admit). So, I re-ran the numbers and checked specifically for ‘male’ and ‘female’ (not just the difference between male and the total, which I’d wrongly assumed were female!).
The stats are in the picture below. Click to enlarge it. Still a great percentage of females, but a lot of unspecified genders. I wonder if these represent inactive or unused profiles? I mean, if you were a regular user, with Facebook friends, there’s a pretty good chance you’d specify your gender. Anyway, here’s the upate:
November 22, 2007
[Update: before you get too far into these numbers, you might like to check out this updated post, which gives a more accurate breakdown of genders - the country totals remain the same]
Out of interest I went through the Facebook ad platform to pull together some stats on relative numbers of members from each country. Not surprisingly, the US represents over 40% of the total membership at just over 18 million. Some surprises though (at least to me), with Turkey in 5th place.
There’s quite a heavy bias to the ladies too, with female members making up just over 63% of the total population.
I’m not able to see what criteria FB uses to present these numbers, so these may be members with just a basic profile, or those who have also filled in some additional personal details too.
Full picture is below. Click on the image to open up so that you can see all the data.
[update - see my comment in the comments too :-) ]
October 4, 2007
Much like blogging about blogging, blogging about Facebook is also currently contributing to blocking the tubes: you can see that I’ve been just as guilty as the next person in that regard. I also wasn’t trying to create a series on Web 2.0 either, but as I have the admin power please indulge me one last time (just don’t hold me to ‘last’ ;-)).
Normal service of random nonsense will then return. Promise.
I do find this stuff interesting though, so whilst doing some random link following on the FB subject I came across a comment on Bubble Generation from one Phil Jones. Phil is a lot more eloquent than I am on this, and so I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him.
This is, to me, the essence of my platform argument below.
Phil says: “Actually, the world of Facebook apps. and widgets is the first time I’ve started to see that an old-style platform strategy may be possible. Here the basis is something which which is a hybrid of technology, namespace and social convention. Of which Facebook’s “news-feed” is the archetypal example. Facebook’s news-feed is not merely technological : which is why other generic data-sharing feeds like RSS or Twitter aren’t equivalent. It’s also a social convention within a particular namespace and community: I’m willing to look at data that an application writes on my friend’s feed, even though I haven’t installed the application or explicitly subscribed to it. This is different from the open web – I wouldn’t welcome an ordinary web-application that my friend used, randomly spamming my email. (Similarly, if too many bots started writing to Twitter, that would kill that particular community pretty damned quickly, it’s not part of its culture either.)
Facebook’s platform power ultimately rests on their ownership of this complex but delicate socio-technical hybrid. If they can nurture and grow it, such as giving both users and applications, more and subtler ways to manage it, more nuanced types of relationships between people, with more fine grained privacy control and applications that access these both through the APIs and patterns of software behaviour, then I think they have something that’s very hard to escape from or reproduce elsewhere.
This is no longer about just data, or arguments about open access to it. It’s data + social data + social conventions.”
Well said Phil!