As Facebook plows on towards 500 million users, there will be an estimated 6,859,480,895 people on the earth by August 1st, 2010.
So, about 1 in 13 earthlings have a Facebook profile. You get a pretty clear picture that Facebook is quite simply, A BIG DEAL – whether you like it or not.
All this rapid growth has got to stop somewhere, right? Correct. In fact, probably pretty soon. The number of Facebook users will continually grow, but likely not at the same rate. It will begin to level off – then what?
What comes next has already arrived. Recent announcements at the F8 conference back in April showed us that the web was becoming more social in its very nature. You might remember my blog post from a year ago regarding the rise of Web 3.0 – the semantic web.
What Facebook brings across the web now is “meaning”… how the content of the web is presented to the user along with its specific impact to the user’s own experience. We see this in the form of “Like” buttons. When a user reads a story on CNN.com or NHL.com, they can see how many of their Facebook friends liked it. This is what I mean by meaning… its how the web content relates to the user now in a specific and personal way. And there will be more of it… new layers of meaning, and in deeper ways.
Facebook is also changing how people use the web – it is moving from search engine as starting point to social network as starting point. You’ll also notice that Facebook now has “Community Pages” – Facebook is slowly, but surely becoming an online repository of everyone and everything. Like an immense encyclopedia, not only presented with facts – but with what those facts mean to people.
Now, that is a big deal.