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Do you have a “face” on Facebook?

Founders page on Facebook

The world is about to celebrate the 5 year birthday of Facebook next month. Facebook is a free social networking tool started by college students to link their friends. Its exponential growth is way beyond what we can even contemplate even in our limited knowledge of the world wide web.

I set up my profile on October 2006 about ten days after Facebook opened the doors to any user over the age of 13. My college kids were active on the site and I was immediately connected. I learned to add more friends, photos, and writings. I have a few additional applications.

I know that it can be an incredible tool to use for networking for business, though I have limited my exposure primarily to friends and family. Though I know it is used worldwide, I didn’t really consider the impact it could have from politics to connections. Information is garnered from profiles to target banner advertisements to the user. For example, because I have my birth year as 1955, I constantly see ads to reduce wrinkles… I am sure they haven’t looked at my photos and my young skin!

This morning reading the New York Times online I came across an article in the technology section titled “Revolution, Facebook Style.” Young citizens in Mid East countries use Facebook to gather together and join causes and plan protests. Though I am not well versed in the conflicts, this website that grandmas put up photos of newborns, real estate agents list new properties for sale, college kids post photos of the latest party on campus and helped elect our new President shares the same site as those at war. It made me think about how “war” as we knew it during Vietnam days when the first televised visions of conflict overseas and protests in the US entered our living rooms will change with the internet. I was flabbergasted how reality sunk in when I read that it is used during conflict. It is great that it brings people together for a common cause.

The article in the specifically looks at Facebook in Egypt. Briefly, according to the article, in most countries in the Arab world, Facebook is now one of the 10 most-visited Web sites, and in Egypt it ranks third, after Google and Yahoo. In Egypt where freedom of speech and the right to assemble are limited causing over 18,000 people to be imprisoned. It is illegal for more than 5 people to gather without a license and political organizations are banned, the internet has changed for those sitting in their living rooms and cafĂ©’s. About one in nine Egyptians has internet access and about 9 percent of that group is on Facebook.. over 800,000 members. A youth movement formed on Facebook included about 70,000 young and educated Egyptians most of whom had never been involved in politics. Here tens of thousands of youth meet online and discuss politics and plan events and protests in a country with such political repression exists is remarkable. A 30-year-old woman named Esraa Abdel Fattah Ahmed Rashid who originally founded the April 6 Youth Movement Facebook group was arrested and jailed for organizing a protest on Facebook. Read the article at NYTimes article Revolution, Facebook Style

I embrace diversity, creativity, uniqueness, and difference but wrestle with the thought of conflict over differences. This thought alone makes me question my own feelings about whether I do accept our inherent differences or whether I abhor violence to such a great degree that I wished we all just agreed.

I have grown to enjoy and become attached to Facebook. The idea that people all over the planet are online also sharing and connecting with their friends is comforting. I am also grateful that it brings together those that share common political and religious beliefs and that can use a keyboard instead of a weapon. And, it made me think how Facebook is in so many languages can actually foster peace and may have the power to bring understanding to the younger generation. And I hope as time marches forward that Facebook does just that. And I can only imagine how Facebook will add to our lives and our businesses in ways we can’t see today. If you are not a member, join today and start connecting with friends and family and those that share common causes in your life!

Below are some of the most recent 2009 statistics about Facebook. Are you a member? Do you visit often? Do you use Facebook for fun or for work? How many friends do you have?

2009 Facebook Stats

In The US alone there are 42 million users. There are over 150 million users worldwide.

The 35-54 year old demo is growing fastest, with a 276.4% growth rate in over the approximate 6 months since we last produced this report

The 55+ demo is not far behind with a 194.3% growth rate

The 25-34 year population on Facebook is doubling every 6 months

For those interested in advertising alcohol on Facebook, there are 27,912,480 users 21+, representing 66.3% of all users in the US

In the USA Miami is the fastest growing metropolitan area (88.5%) and Atlanta (6.4%) is the slowest

New York has the largest number of USA users of Facebook

There are more females (55.7%) than males (42.2%) on Facebook – 2.2% are of unknown gender.

The largest demographic concentration remains the college crowd of 18-24 year olds (40.8%) which is down from (53.8%) six months ago.

The average user has over 100 friends on the site.

More than 2million events are created each month.

More than 800 million photos are uploaded each month.

*From and 2009