Tuesday, March 16, 2010

True Power

Today, I had a very interesting discussion that got me thinking about the perceived power of social media and whether or not it really deserves all the media attention it gets. According to an article I read about Facebook, on December 1, 2009, Facebook had 350,000,000 users. That is approximately 5% of the world with or without computers taking the estimate that the world has 7,000,000,000 people for ease of calculation. However, there were only, according to the Computer Industry Almanac, about 1.6 billion Internet users in the world in 2008. This means that Facebook attracted approximately 22% of Internet users. If this chunk is not large enough for you, take into account that in July of 2009, China, the world's largest Internet user, banned its 235,000,000 Internet users from accessing Facebook. That means that these 235,000,000 could not be included in the count of Internet users who use Facebook simply because they are forbidden by the government. Therefore, of the Internet users who are able to access Facebook, just about 26% of them do. Think about it; one social media site is able to attract over one quarter of the Internet using public. This is immense power; being able to market to 350,000,000 people possibly simultaneously is amazing. If you posted your product on enough fan pages and group pages, it would definitely be possible to appeal to almost all of these users all for free.

I definitely realize that posting on thousands or possibly millions of group pages would be an incredible waste of time because not every product would appeal to each market segment that each group represents. Nevertheless, I find it amazing that it would be so easy to appeal to so many people for free. I have seen Facebook utilized in so many different ways to publicize various types of events and news stories. For my readers in Vermont, do you remember Pete the Moose? An animal's life is worth 2910 fans. Imagine what could happen to anything that is able to find a few media outlets to publicize their Facebook page like the Moose did.

I realize that I have not written about sports at all today, and I am sorry about that. However, I just wanted to alert all of you to the immense power that social media has, Facebook in particular as it is the largest social media site on the Internet. So, I guess the application to sports is that if you have a team or an event, such as an AAU tournament, that you're trying to publicize, you can use traditional mediums such as the newspaper, but don't forget about the impact social media can have. How many newspapers do you know that have a circulation of 350,000,000 potential customers?

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