Friday 23 April 2010

Face Off for Facebook?

There's a lot of talk about Facebook. There's a lot of numbers about Facebook too. 132 million unique visitors per month, versus Google 147 - and Yahoo 131.
3.0 billion visits per month, versus Google 2.7 - and Yahoo 2.3
Twitter has 21 million unique visitors per month, and 162 million visits

I'm wondering about those quantities, and the overall quality. I think that the average Facebook user is just digitally gossiping, and doesn't care nor contribute at all
Update 12th October 2010 12:37 CET: I found out that only uses US data, not worldwide. It's in the small print whereas I'd think that should be in big red ink all over their site.
I apologise for this, it means that active user stats below only apply to the US, both for Facebook as for Twitter
I don't see how Facebook gets attributed 400 or even 500 million active users with stats like these
If you're an active user, wouldn't you visit at least once a month? Especially given the fact that Facebooks says that 50% of their active users log on to Facebook in any given day - in my view that would make the number of active Facebook users 132 million, and 265 at most. Still impressive, but not anywhere near 400 million

The very reason I started this post however, is the fact that I don't see Facebook people on the Web. I see Tweeps all over the place, they get around, they engage, they read, write and comment to blogs. And especially that last medium made me wonder: where on earth are those Facebook users? I know they're not supposed to tweet, but don't they read blogs?

If you read a blog post now and then, you'll know that you can share it. There are a lot of ways to share a blog post, but there are three main ways: Tweetmeme, Digg and Facebook. Oh and of course Google Buzz

Here's a typical picture of a blog post ways-to-share:

What is the ratio there, between ReTweets and Facebook shares? 1:50 - Tweeps are sharing this post 50 times more than Facebook users. Even a post on Techcrunch about Facebook's socalled Open Graph gets 4 times as many ReTweets as Facebook Shares. Pick any post on TechCrunch and you'll see that Buzz is almost non-existent, and Facebook Shares are 1/10th of Twitter ReTweets. I took the last 19 posts currently out there, and the Facebook-Twitter ratio ranges from 1% to 46%, with a weighted average of 10%
Mashable is a bit (40%) bigger than TechCrunch, so I checked them too: there is a 1:4 ratio there. When leaving out the post about a Russian hacker on Facebook, the ratio is 1:5 - or 20%

So, where and what do Facebook users contribute? Do they all chit-chat among themselves on Facebook, and don't get around? Are they afraid of the outside world, and prefer to remain safely within the -becoming ever so public by the minute- Facebook compounds?
Let's not forget that, regardless of the suggestimations on all sides, the current ratio is that there are 6 times as many Facebook users, as there are active Twitter users. So actually, the ratio shouldn't be 15% (10% and 20% combined), but 600%.

Facebook users should share blog posts 6 times as much simply because there are 6 times as many Facebook users as there are Twitter users

But, on this earth, that is the other way around. The average Twitter user shares 36 times as much as the average Facebook user

Leading by example on the Social Web: Twitter users. By far

Update April 24th 11:39 CET: apparently, I have been too subtle with this post. Reading the comments, the link isn't made. And it's an important point, so I'm making it here:
If this is the default behaviour of Facebook users on the web, then where's the market for their new toy for which the entire web has to adjust its pages?

Facebook is a silo and that's cultural: it will never change. Not when you throw out all privacy by making everything public, nor by placing Facebook buttons all over the world

I'll do the math here to measure the market for facebook's like button, and please correct me if I'm wrong: Twitter users "like" stuff on the web (sorry for lack of words) 35 times as often as Facebook users. Even in one's wildest dreams, there aren't more than 50 million Twitter users. Divided by 35, 50 makes 1.5

So, those 400 or what not million Facebook users act as 1.5 million users that are active outside of Facebook. And the entire web should change in order to give them their own button? Mark, that's just plain crazy

[I don't have a Facebook account myself. There is a Martijn Linssen active on Facebook, but he's half my age and much better looking. Just in case you were wondering]

7 reacties:

Tim Kastelle said...

Well, people use the services for vastly different things. FB isn't designed for sharing links, nor do people do it much. So for the kinds of things that we use twitter for, FB is lousy. For keeping up with my friends and family, it's invaluable. Two different functions = two different statistical profiles.

Patrick Brinksma said...

I have to go with Tim on this.
I have both, but I am more active on Twitter, mainly because of the blog sharing and interesting tweets and latest news. On Facebook I share some photos, comment on friends, and less serious...

Patrick Brinksma said...

To add to my comments above:

The power of Twitter is really that less is more. Facebook and also Google Buzz allow too lengthy entries, and discussions. Strength of Twitter for me is that you have the chance reading interesting blog posts shared by whom you follow and that the comments are posted with the post itself and not scattered around many places.

What I am more curious about is your opinion on the 'Open' Graph and Like button virus Facebook is spreading.


Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks Tim and Patrick!

I updated my post after having read your comments, and kicked in the (apparently not that) open door myself: why is Mark trying so hard to break down Facebook's walls? I agree with you 100% that Facebook like any other network has its own function

I think indeed that, if Facebook users like something, they go into Facebook, tell their friends, and link from within Facebook to the outside world - and not vice versa

And that will stay that way. Facebook becoming open, no matter how hard Mark tries, would have the same chance of success as making Twitter closed...

JHS_NL said...

It has been possible to update twitter from within facebook but that got taken out suddenly...

Using facebook everywhere you go on the web is useless imo (and I use facebook everyday), I for instance don't need to take it anywhere I go have it open as mark wants it to be...

Patrick Brinksma said...

I find this discussion fascinating, and I can not really form an opinion. There are several parts of the discussion:

1. Facebook being 'open' or indeed the lack of, very similar to the Google Buzz discussion. I can't get a grip on this other then big companies deciding for users that there default setting is 'open'. From a broader perspective I find privacy very interesting as 'connect' and 'open' are current 'buzz' words. (oh, the irony in this all...).

2. Will users actually use the 'Like' button. I have to admit, that sharing currently requires more extensive interaction from the user then just using the 'Like' button. So in that sense, I think people will use it. And in essence 'liking' something is very different then 'sharing' something which you have read and have an opinion about.

3. Privacy. I find this a very clouded discussion. What is privacy anyway? Definitions tell me: "The quality or condition of being secluded from the presence or view of others." or "The state of being concealed; secrecy." But I don't think that is the issue. People need to know if they enter any data, or click any 'Like' button what it is used for. And please explain in plain human language, not in legal mambo jambo.
Privacy is off course driven fear of others abusing 'your' data. This is valid from the perspective of an honest human being, but also from the perspective of a criminal. But the issue is in the word 'fear'. And as long as we perceive it that way, this discussion will remain to be so...



Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks JHS_NL and Patrick.

I never heard that updating Twitter from Facebook disappeared, that's odd!

Patrick, thanks for a nice long comment again! Yes, everything is becoming more and more open. As long as it can be chatted up nicely, big companies like FB can change the rules on the fly - what are the dangers for them?
Technically, to Like or to Share requires you to be uniquely identified. The functionality is different but it will be just as hard or easy as it is now, unless a miracle happens
Ah, the P-word. I agree to the fear, it doesn't help much that expectations are unilaterally being reset by companies such as FB when it comes to public and private matters - when will they do it next? The trust is being damaged here, and I find that scary

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