If you’re reading this on the SMUG site (instead of in an RSS reader), it’s highly likely that one of the next three pages you load in your browser will be on Facebook. That’s according to this CBS News story:
According to Hitwise, Facebook has a 10 percent share of Internet visits in the U.S., and accounts for nearly 25 percent of page views. Trailing behind Facebook, Google has about a 7 percent share and YouTube (owned by Google) about 3 percent of Internet visits. On the page view front, YouTube and Google have a combined 11.7 percent share. It appears that Facebook is gobbling up a lot of what its CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the vast “uncharted” territory of the Internet.
So since this post counts as one, it’s likely that if you’re like most people (or at least “U.S. Americans“) one of your next three page views will be on Zuckerberg’s site.*
That got me to thinking about a post I did three years ago, when Facebook had “only” 35 million users, which I titled “Facebook: Covering the Planet in 5 years?” I made some projections based on Facebook’s “astonishing” growth rate of 3 percent per week, to see how long it would take Facebook to sign up everyone on the planet, a goal that had been attributed to one of its cofounders. Here was my take on it:
If that weekly growth trend continues, Facebook would have 6 billion users in January 2011, which would make that cofounder prediction of blanketing the planet in 5 years come true.
Of course lots of factors could intervene to diminish Facebook’s growth rate. As the old prospectus boilerplate says, “Past performance does not guarantee future results.” But even if Facebook’s “astonishing” growth rate were cut by a third, to 2 percent a week, it would have 400 million users by January 2010.
Clearly, Facebook’s growth rate slowed to something closer to that 2 percent a week mark. But even though it’s a few years behind schedule in covering the planet, the goal seems less fanciful than it did three years ago.
*Note to the humorless: I realize that the Hitwise figures are averages. More likely you’ll browse around on some other sites and then go on Facebook and log 50 page views there all at once. If you’re looking for some other historical (and hopefully interesting) posts about Facebook, mainly from 2007, check out the Facebook Business page. For a more structured approach to learning, see the Facebook curriculum section.