Facebook at 300m it’s the Disney of social networks
Facebook has passed a number of milestones this year and as it passes the 300m users mark there doesn’t seem to be much stopping it or much competition in its rear view mirror.
Adding 50m users in two months is really something. Earlier this year it became the fourth biggest website on the planet, snapped up FriendFeed for $50m and is making money. Although no clues on how much money it is making.
The trick that Facebook has managed to pull off so successfully is that it is all encompassing. If you look at it in terms of the family set-up, whole families are there: kids, parents, cousins, aunts and grandparents are all represented. Sports teams and other groups use it as a virtual adjunct. It’s social and crosses the business divide as well (although not successfully).
It’s like the Disney of social networks. Okay, so Disney would never allow you to post pictures of your friends vomiting – but hey you get the idea.
I know lots of people who have their parents as friends on Facebook. I’m not sure they always want to and occasionally live in fear that drunk status updating might draw leading questions.
But it is that achievement of universality that is the cornerstone of Facebook’s success, coupled with the fact that it is a generally cleanly designed and not to cluttered website. Yes we all have irks with the changes that get introduced now and again, but by and large it works and navigating is as easy for my mum as it is for a teenage cousin.
Its growth to some degree I’m sure has been helped by the lack of solid competition. MySpace has faded in a mess of spam, clutter and lack of focus. Twitter despite its really impressive growth is not Facebook. I might spend a lot more time on Twitter, but I still use both. Twitter clearly works very differently, it serves a different purpose, and it is not universal in its appeal.
So much has already been written about why teenagers are not on Twitter (less about my mum), but that always seemed pretty obvious to me from the start. Twitter is much more about grown-up networks. Its use as a business networking tool is well established and can be awesomely effective at this (see yesterday’s post about Twitter and the power of small business). That’s not what Facebook does and teens generally don’t have a lot of business networking to do.
What they do have is friends to connect and socialise with and Facebook works brilliantly for that. For those in work who don’t need the kind of connections that those in certain industries need (communications, media, marketing, entertainment et cet) Facebook answers most of their social networking needs.
All ages are welcome which is why I guess it is making money ahead of its 2010 target as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes on his blog:
“We’re also succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. Earlier this year, we said we expected to be cash flow positive sometime in 2010, and I’m pleased to share that we achieved this milestone last quarter. This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term.
“Over time, Facebook will continue to be as strong as all of the connections you make. We’ll continue building new and better things to make connecting with the people you care about as easy and rewarding as possible. We thank all of you for helping us reach the point where we are connecting 300 million people, and we hope to serve you and many more people in increasingly deep and innovative ways in the months and years ahead.”
Congratulations its seems well deserved.