Two new studies of social behavior over everyone’s favorite social networking site were released this week, detailing the nature and extent of sharing links and information on the network. The network, which grew from 250 million users to 400 million in only the last six months, was the subject of criticism once again this week as users debated the merits of the facelift the site received.
Sharing is caring on the social network
One study, an update on Facebook’s statistics page, indicates that users are moving away from using their statuses to really tell friends “what’s on their minds.” Instead, people are using Facebook more often to share links, news articles, songs, YouTube videos, and the like. And they’re doing it a lot. Five billions links shared a week in the whole of the Facebook network – a staggering figure – averages to 12 shared pieces a week per user. Facebook also revealed that 175 million people log in to the network each day, meaning just shy of half of all Facebook account holders are checking their friends’s links daily. This trend points to a great importance on the part of fan pages of businesses to take an active role in the conversation by sharing as frequently as possible. Sharing content other than promotional status updates has amazing potential to be commented on or liked by other users, thus reposting the article in their news feeds and keeping the fan page in the public eye. Fandom increased dramatically as well as the number of fan pages doubled in the same time, fuel largely by new pages
for local, small- and mid-sized businesses.
The Facebook Gazette
Facebook called on its users at the end of January to share more news links with friends through their account, a move aimed at undermining the attraction of Twitter and RSS feeds to web surfers looking for quick itemized news updates. As a result, Facebook has surpassed Google News as the dominant driver of traffic to news sites, currently beating it handedly by sending a 350 people to every news article Google News sends 1 to.
What do these numbers boil down to?
Ultimately these numbers indicate a growing legitimacy of Facebook. This is not something that happened over night, nor has Facebook replaced the newspaper, but Facebook is nonetheless consistently adapting and evolving and incorporating new features that the community ends up adopting and utilizing with great frequency. So maybe we shouldn’t complain about the new face of the social network just yet…it appears they know what they’re doing.