So, it was just a matter of time. After hovering tantalisingly close for the last few months, Facebook has finally signed up its one billionth user. To put it into perspective, that means one in seven human beings – and around 45% of all internet users – have an account on the social network.
These are astonishing numbers, and certainly not what Mark Zuckerberg would ever have envisioned just eight years ago when Facebook launched. But what does it really mean? Is the one-billion mark significant? Where can Facebook possibly go from here? We asked the experts at Quirk for their views.
James McKay, Managing Director, Quirk Cape Town
James feels the milestone is an important one:
"The one billion mark for Facebook is significant in that it represents the undeniable scale and power that social platforms now command. Whether used as vehicles for social reform (as is continually proven as governments fall in the Middle-East through sheer public pressure often coordinated via social media) or as brand channels, social channels cannot be relegated to the margin of 'tactical activity'. The same can be said for the evolution of the internet - it has replaced other channels as the new 'mainstream' for social, brand and general consumer experiences."
Liam Gibbs, Head Of Engage
Liam shares the sentiment:
“I think that although the ‘one billion’, itself, is just a number, the concept of large scale is hugely significant for social networks.
Here’s an analogy: If I meet someone while I'm out, and next day I want to track them down, I would generally use a network that has the most people on it. That way I will be most likely to find them with minimum effort, and will then likely continue to correspond with them on that network. It's like choosing between a phonebook with everyone in it, over one with only some people in it. So the more successful Facebook is, the more successful it's likely to be.”
Su Little, Head Of Social Media
Su thinks that Facebook is on the up and up:
“Facebook will continue to grow due to the proliferation of social media use via mobile. We may begin to see stronger growth of niche communities within the Facebook platform as users search for more relevant data to meet their needs. Ultimately, the more users there are on the platform, the more content becomes available – and this is where relevancy will take over as content is now king.”
Mahomed Junaid (MJ) Khan, Senior Engage Specialist, Quirk Jozi
MJ is a bit more cynical:
“I would question the veracity of these accounts – how many are duplicate, fake or dormant? Recently, Google+ just hit 400 million ... and we don't really care. As Facebook becomes increasingly commercialised, people will flock to other online spaces. Facebook is not dead, but it is not immortal.”
What do you think? Is there no stopping the social network? Could Facebook’s size be dooming it to eventual failure? Share your views in the comments!