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Facebook growth slows: brains not big enough

by on 14 Jun, 2011

The continuous growth of Facebook has hit a hiccup: growth
is levelling out in the UK, Canada and the USA.
It may even be going down in those countries.

Over 687 million users

Overall the number is growing: up 45.2% over the past 12
months worldwide to 687.1million, according to insidefacebook.com.

Canada slowest

12-month growth in the UK was just 11.1%.  The lowest growth among the top 25 countries
is Canada with only 7.4% in the past 12 months.

The Dunbar number: 150

This may be because people can only handle meaningful,
trusting relationships with about 150 people, says evolutionary anthropologist
Robin Dunbar.  It’s all about the size of
our brains, he says.  We just can’t cope
with any more.

This human characteristic means the size of Facebook may be
more limited than its supporters think.

Brazil grows 3-fold

But Facebook users are still growing wildly in some countries:
the top growth over the past year has been in Brazil with a 3-fold increase to
19 million placing it 10th in the list.

The bulge is at 18-34 years old

The age demographics of Facebook users are interesting.  According to insidefacebook.com they are:

13-17     20.6% of users

18-25     25.8%

26-34     26.8%

35-44     14.9%

45-54     8%

55-64     4.6%

51.2% male; 48.8% female.

Perhaps that bulge at 18-34 will work its way through so
that by 2031 the 38 to 54-year olds will be the largest group and
Facebook will seem to younger people to be old hat.

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One Comment
  1. Thought-provoking post Richard. Even if they’re slowing down, it’s 1 in 10 of the human race, thus its huge nominal valuation. Never before has one person or entity had the ability to send one message instantly to so many people. Latent power…

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