You and I have almost a billion and a half friends. That’s a really big number, in case you’re not very good at counting. While that figure might be a slight exaggeration when it comes to our actual friends, if you’re on Facebook (who isn’t?), you belong to a social network closing in on that number.
Mark Zuckerberg and cohorts recently took advantage of Facebook’s mobile upload option to tout some fairly illuminating tidbits about the largest social network in human history — including different facets of user activity, as well as the media giant’s quarterly earnings.
While teens have been shying away from the megalith that is the “book of faces” (too many snoopy parents and friends of parents online), the Menlo Park, Calif.-based hive of oversharing really does have some pretty good news to toot its emoji horns (brass-based, not devil-based) about.
With 1.44 billion users taking advantage of the company’s services each month — and 45 billion messages sent on a daily basis, not to mention 600 million folks on Facebook Messenger every month plus a couple million advertisers scattered among the digital proletariat — Facebook seems to be chugging along pretty nicely, thank you very much.
Even without all of those teens — who, I suspect if they’re not “Facebooking” just yet, will sign up as soon as they move away from home, lose contact with friends and loved ones and realize just how unforgiving and lonely the world can be with out an anchor into the past — Zuckerberg’s baby is doing just fine.
Sure, studies are coming out about how too much social media can be detrimental to your mental health. So, too, I would argue, is being ostracized by your friends because you’re not on the same social networks they are or using WhatsApp or up-to-date with your smartphone technology. (That last one is personal for me as I still use an old phone that, by modern standards, is somewhat learning-disabled.) It’s a devil’s bargain (those pesky horns again) as to which does more harm — being on Facebook or ignoring it entirely.
In other words, for the time being at least, it seems like very little can stop Facebook’s global domination. Just like the Borg tend to say (Trekkies will get that reference), “Resistance is futile” since we’ll all end up assimilated — one way or another — into the collective that is the digital social universe.
Carl Pettit is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.