As of January 2009

As of January 2009, the online social networking
application Facebook registered more than 175
million active users. To put that number in perspec-
tive, this is only slightly less than the population of
Brazil (190 million) and over twice the population of
Germany (80 million)! At the same time, every
minute, 10 hours of content were uploaded to the
video sharing platform YouTube. And, the image
hosting site Flickr provided access to over 3 billion
photographs, making the world-famous Louvre
Museum’s collection of 300,000 objects seem tiny
in comparison.
According to Forrester Research, 75% of Internet
surfers used ”Social Media” in the second quarter of
2008 by joining social networks, reading blogs, or
contributing reviews to shopping sites; this repre-
sents a significant rise from 56% in 2007. The growth
is not limited to teenagers, either; members of
Generation X, now 35—44 years old, increasingly
populate the ranks of joiners, spectators, and crit-
ics. It is therefore reasonable to say that Social
Media represent a revolutionary new trend that
should be of interest to companies operating in
online space–—or any space, for that matter.
Yet, not overly many firms seem to act comfort-
ably in a world where consumers can speak so freely