2009 Review: Huge Year for Facebook (Poll)

Going into 2009 I think we all knew that social media was going to transform the web as we knew it but I don’t think that any of us expected it to explode into the mainstream as fast as it did.  The 3 big social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace all entered 2009 with some impressive numbers already but by year end, I bet they were just as surprised as we were.  In this year in review post I am going to focus on Facebook and some of the changes that we witnessed from them this year…

The Facebook Connect Rollout

Facebook expanded their social network domination by rolling out Facebook Connect in a big way this past year, I blogged several times on this topic, you can find those posts here.  In a nutshell, Facebook Connect allows Facebook users to authenticate themselves on external websites with their Facebook accounts, therefore taking their identity with them to external websites.  This has rapidly become a preferred method for authentication for users that don’t want to manage separate logins for every site or web service that they use. This functionality gave Facebook another huge boost in surpassing MySpace, in my opinion, because of the openness of their connect platform versus MySpace’s.

Facebook Design Changes

2009 also saw at least two design changes to the user interface for Facebook.  These updates were met at first with opposition but I think eventually they were accepted.  Here is a post I did back in March regarding one phase of their rollout that affected their home, profile, and activity streams.  Facebook pages also underwent some changes, I blogged about those edits here if you are interested.

Changes to TOS (Terms of Service)

Some other big stories for Facebook this past year had to do with their TOS (Terms of Service) changes, I blogged a few times on this topic if you are interested, see here and here…  For the most part I think that this was a whole lot to do about nothing, but I do know of a handful of people that disappeared forever as a result of these changes.

A Huge Year for Growth

Facebook is the king of the mountain in terms of users with over 350 million.  Of the 350 million Facebook users, 50% of these users are active on a daily basis.  The word Facebook can be heard on just about every newscast you watch everyday as well as an appendage on the marketing materials for just about every major company out there, this probably hasn’t hurt Facebook’s growth one bit.  Here are some additional statistics provided by Facebook, some of this is extremely interesting:

Here are some additional statistics provided by Facebook:

  • More than 350 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • More than 35 million users update their status each day
  • More than 55 million status updates posted each day
  • More than 2.5 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 3.5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3.5 million events created each month
  • More than 1.6 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 700,000 local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
  • Average user has 130 friends on the site
  • Average user sends 8 friend requests per month
  • Average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook
  • Average user clicks the Like button on 9 pieces of content each month
  • Average user writes 25 comments on Facebook content each month
  • Average user becomes a fan of 2 Pages each month
  • Average user is invited to 3 events per month
  • Average user is a member of 12 groups
  • More than 70 translations available on the site
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application

Facebook is Finally Profitable

For someone not familiar with how the web operates, this next point is probably going to come as a shock.  Up until 2009 Facebook had not ever turned an actual profit.  Yes, the company grew, but it’s growth was a direct result of angel investors that were able to get in on the ground floor of this emerging fireball.  I did a blog post back in September where I discussed Facebook’s announcement that they were finally profitable if you are interested.

Incorporated into Search Engines

When we learned back in September / October of this year that Bing and Google were planning on adding social media to their search results I think a lot of us already saw this coming.  While it’s really early to predict how Facebook is going to play in terms of the search equation at this time, I think we will learn a lot more about that in 2010.  I did a few posts in relation to this topic here and again here if you are interested.

Facebook Usernames & URL’s

Facebook launched Usernames and URL’s this past year for both users and businesses inside their network.  There was a silent goldrush as companies battled to secure their Facebook vanity urls.  This “goldrush” just solidified Facebook’s position as an online marketing outlet for corporations in my opinion.

What’s Next for Facebook? Marketplace?

I think that a couple of things are going to be big topics for Facebook followers in 2010.  One of these issues will be privacy controls.  Facebook has already implemented some changes to their privacy controls in 2009 but I think we will see some even more detailed streamlining on tap for 2010.  I think that another area worth watching for 2010 is the Facebook Marketplace, I posted on this topic recently if you are interested, I suspect that as Facebook rapidly approaches an IPO the marketplace will be one area that they will focus a lot of their efforts.

Head to Head w/ Twitter?

Personally, I still don’t see Facebook and Twitter as direct competition to one another, so I won’t weigh in on any strategies Facebook might have for going after Twitter, but I will say that their recent move to get into the URL shortening market has me scratching my head wondering why they would want to venture into that direction.

Developers, Developers, Developers…

I think that the openness of Facebook API will further encourage developers to roll out more fun and useful applications for the network.  Since I am not a heavy application user in Facebook I don’t have any predictions as to what kind of applications just yet, but I suspect there will be a Farmtown on Steroids that all of our mothers can’t live without at some point in 2010.

What About FriendFeed?

One last thing to watch for in 2010 from Facebook is FriendFeed.  This past year we saw Facebook purchase this company, and for the most part a lot of us inside the industry slapped our hands on our foreheads and asked “why??”…  FriendFeed is an extremely popular social aggregator / network that has tremendous user loyalty.  It will be interesting to see what Facebook does with this purchase.  I blogged about the purchase of FriendFeed back in August if you are interested…

In closing, please take a second to let us know which social network you will spend the most time inside 2010.  Also, I still maintain a pretty active presence on Facebook, if you are a Facebook user be sure to add me as a friend

About Cotton Rohrscheib

Cotton Rohrscheib is the CEO of Rohrscheib Capital Partners. Over the past 20 years he has been associated with numerous projects in the IT, Healthcare, and Agriculture industries. Born a serial entrepreneur, Cotton has personally been involved in several startups, product launches, and brand acquisitions during his career and has consulted on hundreds of projects for clients around the world. Today he still services the marketing and consulting needs for clients while trying to maintain a healthy balance between work and being a good husband and father to his wife, Donna, and their son, Spencer.


  1. Cotton,
    I thought it was an awesome year for FB. I liked the layout changes and the small business I work for benefitted from the creation of a company page. My only beef was the privacy changes and the noobs bitched about layout changes. I liked the realtime changes but I'd like more control over the live feed.

  2. I agree, I think the live feed could be structured a lot better. As far as business pages go inside of Facebook, I recommend them to all of my clients, they rock!!! That's free exposure, and it works!!!


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