At 5, Facebook Gets Older, as Do Its Users

Feb. 3 was Facebook’s fifth birthday. Can you believe it? Where did the time go?

To commemorate this occasion, the trend-setting social network’s boy wonder founder, Mark Zuckerberg, offered a note to members on Facebook’s Web site on Feb. 2. Among other things, he said the following:

Feb. 3 was Facebook’s fifth birthday. Can you believe it? Where did the time go?

To commemorate this occasion, the trend-setting social network’s boy wonder founder, Mark Zuckerberg, offered a note to members on Facebook’s Web site on Feb. 2. Among other things, he said the following:

“This is a happy occasion for Facebook, but much more significant to the Facebook team is the fact that over 150 million people around the world are using Facebook to connect with the people in their lives. Facebook was founded in 2004 to give people the tools to engage and understand the world around them. We are glad and humbled that so many people are using Facebook in this way.”

Indeed, Facebook has come a long way. Overall, Facebook was the fifth-ranked Web site by total market share of visits last month, according to online research firm Hitwise. One year ago, visits to Facebook represented 15 percent of the total social networking category, while MySpace captured 73 percent. By January, Facebook’s share had more than doubled to 31 percent, while MySpace’s total share of the category eroded to 57 percent.

What’s more, the time spent on Facebook has continued to increase, reaching an average visit time of just more than 21 minutes in January. In addition, the number of users aged 18 to 24 represented a 42 percent share of visits for the four weeks ending on Jan. 26, 2008. But that’s since decreased to 24 percent for the four weeks ending this past Jan. 24. Now, visitors aged 25 to 34 make up the largest share of visits with 27 percent, and visitors aged 18 to 24 and 35 to 44 closely following with respective shares of 24 percent and 23 percent.

This tells me that Facebook’s audience is more professional. No longer can it be thought of as competing head to head with MySpace, but perhaps LinkedIn, which is known more as a “business networking” tool.

Facebook really has made an impact on networking, communications and marketing online. How could we live without it today? I know I’m checking my Facebook page several times a day, and not just to see how old high school friends are doing. I’ve used the tool to find and communicate with long-lost business associates, learn about new online marketing trends and events in my area, promote eM+C, get questions answered for articles I am working on, and see what my competitors are up to.

How do you use Facebook? Is it an important part of your business day, or have you been thinking about exploring its uses? Let us know here at eM+C. Post a comment now.