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Facebook: Pokes vs real penetration

We’ve all heard about how Facebook has changed the face of the planet, sucking even the most technophobic business dowdies into its vortex. I’m not going to debate the merits, or otherwise, of Facebook as an investment (ask Microsoft), as an application platform (ask Google), or as a waste of time (ask anyone).

What I do find interesting is the extent to which Facebook has managed to penetrate (there’s that nasty poking word again … you see what Facebook does to you?) various regions.
A fascinating, non-scientific, “study” (using the Facebook flyers application) places South Africa’s Facebook penetration at 1,25%, with 610 000 users out of a population of about 48-million, placing South Africa at seventh in terms of absolute Facebook users (behind the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Norway and Sweden) and 14th on the global scale of “Facebook penetration”.

Canada has a whopping 22% of its population (every fifth Canadian) on Facebook, and now, seemingly, boasts more citizens poking and prodding each other, than any political party (for example) has voters. Astonishing.

Norway has nearly 20% of its citizens on Facebook, the UK almost 11%, Sweden more than 9% and the US and Australia about 7%.

Does Facebook represent potentially the single biggest broadcast medium, through which to poke, prod, inform, berate and irritate the masses?

I have no idea, but the numbers are telling … and Facebook is reaching more people than any one product in traditional media today. Across all sorts of geographical boundaries, networks and interests.

The lines are blurring

Facebook, at its heart it remains a social network, given to alleviating the boredom of the day for millions of people who seem to have nothing better to do than twitter away (like me).

But more and more people are using it as business tool (like me), migrating from the Xings and LinkedIns of this world.

It is only a matter of time before business starts to use these networks as marketing and/or sales platforms, as they have every other platform that’s come their way.

Enjoy the ride. But, just as in the real world, keep your wits about you … with all this poking going on, you wouldn’t want to get screwed.