Monday, October 15, 2012

Facebook's 140 Billion Friends And How To Leverage Them

Facebook Promote image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Facebook reached a milestone a few weeks ago when it blew past a billion active accounts, an astonishing number any way you look at it. That said, a number that's often overlooked is one that perhaps more accurately measures the breath of the network - 140.3 billion.

What does 140.3 billion represent? That's the number of total friendships on Facebook. It means that every active member has 140.3 Facebook friends. What's astonishing about that number is that it's close to Dunbar's Number of 150, which is what social anthropologists use to signify the number of persistent face-to-face relationships that the average person usually has.

Obviously Facebook number is an average, because you all know people who have way more than 140 Facebook friends, but the point is that if you just look a single step away from your 140 average friends to their 140 average friends, then you're at 19,600 connections, which is quite a large network. Now image that you have the maximum number of friends on you personal page, which is 5,000. That means that you're one step away from 700,000 people. That's quite a network!

OK, so how do you leverage the friends you have? Facebook has now started a new program that will keep one of your posts at the top of your friends Newsfeed (just click on the Promote button on your post as in the picture on the left). This is perfect if you're announcing a new product, record release or a gig. The downside is that it'll cost you $7 each time you do it, so it can get expensive fast.

Yes, this is another way that FB is trying to monetize their user base, but it's not so far off from what other networks already do. People can buy trending topics on Twitter and users can pin Tumblr posts to the tops of follower's dashboards for $5, so FB is just upping the ante a little.

The bottom line is that there's a big network out there on Facebook, and it's there for the leveraging.

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1 comment:

Rob Weber said...

Bobby said: "if you just look a single step away from your 140 average friends to their 140 average friends, then you're at 19,600 connections..."

That's, of course, assuming everyone has completely different friends. I would say that I have about a dozen "friend groups" where we're all friends with each other, so there are fewer unique connections.

That doesn't change the geometric increase in connections when going out a few levels, but it's not quite so astronomical as stated in the article.

Look forward to the blog every day - thanks for all your do (and I love the Mixing Engineers Handbook!)


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