Direct Line Blog

Happy birthday Facebook!

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Yesterday was Facebook’s 5th birthday. It seems like only yesterday I was actually e-mailing photos to friends and sending out E-vites. Well as we know, those days are indeed behind most of us (OK, I still e-mail pictures to my mom).

Mark Zuckerberg’s baby has come a long way in five years. Remember when only college kids could join and it was called TheFacebook? I do. And while it felt like a much more exclusive club back then, it’s been very interesting to see it evolve into a veritable marketing channel for brands and their advertisers.

In 2006 the site became open to anyone who wanted to join and today has more than 150 million active users.

The site’s share of the social networking category continues to grow. According to Hitwise, a year ago Facebook represented just 15% of the category, while arguably its biggest rival MySpace captured 73%. Last month Facebook garnered 31% of the share while MySpace decreased to 57%.

And the site definitely isn’t just for the college set any longer. Also according to Hitwise, users aged 18-24 represented 42% of visitors in January of 2008. In January 2009, that demographic dropped to 24%. Mom, get on Facebook already!

Any predictions for where the site will be in another five years?
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