Did Someone You Know Get Facebook for Christmas?

The original Facebook guy, remember him?Or maybe you did?

I polled Twitter to see if anyone else noticed an influx of activity and friend requests from Facebook over the holidays, loosely interpreted as the end of December. Meg agreed, and everyone else wisely continued enjoying their seasonal free time.

According to Hitwise, Facebook saw its highest ever daily traffic number on December 24, 2008. This trend mirrors December 2007, when on December 24, Facebook hit its (at the time) high water mark, which it didn’t reach again until July 2008.

But why?

Hitwise offers up three logical explanations: weather, boredom and holiday greetings. All of these seem very smart, and probably contribute to the scads of new people joining Facebook over the holidays. I can see free time as a big contributor, since: a) current members have more time to search for and invite their friends and b) invitees have more time to investigate this Facebook thing they’ve heard so much about.

Even though most of us consider Facebook self-explanatory, it’s not. Mainly because computers, not just Facebook, are not to many people. Over the holidays, family members gather. Have you ever been asked by a family member to troubleshoot a home computer over the holidays? Be honest.

My guess is a lot of family gatherings this year (and last) included conversations about how they could easily stay in touch throughout the year with Facebook, complete with a demo from the resident super user.

I spent some time doing that myself this year. Did you? Did you notice a bunch of new-old friends out there on FB around the holidays?

And just in time for all its new holiday users, Twitter has been hit by its first phishing scam and its first account hijacking. I wonder if those were motivated by weather, boredom or holiday greetings? Anyway, typically, this type of activity signals the passage into mainstream, i.e. more users (and n00bs), makes the network more valuable to scammers.

What did you notice, if anything, about Facebook and Twitter usage over the holiday?

Find the comments.




  1. Funny you mention this, my grandma just joined FB! and she loves it. But I'm in bind here with FB. I joined back in the day when only edu users could sign up. Since then I made a rule of just adding ppl that I have meet IRL and really care to keep in touch. My friends list is about 200 and i like that…In the other hand I wish I could have a FB account for business/networking use. I actually haven't look into it but I bet is feasible now. Anyone has a suggestion?

  2. Luckily, all of those folks in my life who got FB for Christmas also made a NY resolution to use FB more — which sounded the death knell for their activity spurt. That saved me the trouble of dialing them down on my news feed.

    Seriously, though, I did hear from a lot of old friends over the holidays. These were not so much new FB users, but maybe folks who used the free time to search for old friends.

    My biggest holiday FB gripe (not being a big eater) is that not only were we all strapping the feed bag on ourselves every 2 hours or so, we were all describing what we were cooking, eating, serving, planning, etc. It was kinda gross — especially all at once, like mixing a bunch of stuff on a plate.

  3. That is funny. I read another news report (from ABC) about kids not wanting their parents to join FB b/c they don't want them spying on their drunken antics. This is that same old story that's now hitting mainstream news, as FB becomes mainstream, but I found it interesting that no mention was made of how the parents (old folks like me) enjoyed reconnecting with friends. Just the whiny kids. Oh well.

    Having multiple accounts violates the FB terms. Have you tried using friend groups? That might work.

  4. I should revisit FB sometime. I don't spend much time there aside from accepting requests and ignoring apps. Paul uses it a lot and prefers it to Twitter. I'm the opposite. It's very noisy for me, so I get what you're saying.

    I didn't notice the food talk either, although I did notice an influx of pictures. And not just holiday ones, but others, which leads me to think people either had time/were bored or had just joined.

    One recent trend I enjoy is the old school pictures meme spreading through FB. I've seen several scanned pictures pop up in my news feed. That's always a blast.

  5. Maybe, but why maintain dual networks (in the absence of data portability) when you can use FB groups?

    IMO FB has more and better social features than LinkedIn. I use LinkedIn strictly to track business stuff, which means I'm not very social there. A minor difference to some, but it's important to me.

  6. Facebook is way beyond the mainstream path. My inlaws are both on FB now and there was a conversation with one of the grandmas talking about making her an account.

    One things I noticed is that the live feed doesn't capture all my friends anymore. It's filtering by the people I've sent messages back and forth with recently. Kinda disappointing when trying to keep up loose connections.

  7. I was erring on the positive side, since laggards sounds iffy. But yes, I agree. It's funny how fast they've caught up this time; compare how long it took for those same people to get a) teh Intertoobs, b) broadband, c) IM. The curve is truncating.

    The Live Feed is sweet; I also like it on FriendFeed. It's log+data visualization all rolled up in one. But I don't use it enough to notice that gap; note to self: go back to FB.

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