Are you on Facebook? Till about three to four years back, that was a common question raised among friends and acquaintances. It was a time, when Google-operated social networking platform, Orkut, was a part of people’s everyday lives. Now, we have ceased to ask that question. A greater certainty has set in our tone. We not only assume but also stress upon the fact that everyone has heard of Facebook (FB) or is a member of it. As Orkut gradually faded into twilight, the Mark Zuckerberg-led brilliance, called Facebook, took over our daily schedules until it became a way of life.
Latest figures on the social networking site’s stat page indicate that FB has more than 500 million active users, who spend 700 billion minutes per month on the page and have 900 million objects (profiles, groups, events, fan pages and community pages) to interact with. An average user is connected to 80 objects, creates 90 pieces of content per month and more than 30 billion pieces of content (status updates, web links, news stories, blog posts, notes and photo albums) are shared among users each month.
Another favourite is the social networking and micro-blogging phenomenon known as Twitter. This 140-character world has a population of about 100 million, and is growing at the speed of light. The rate of new user growth peaked in July 2010, with 7.8 million people joining Twitter per month. These numbers indicate and assert the vast reach of social networking sites, which are now increasingly being referred to as social media and the Fifth Estate. With various other platforms like LinkedIn (a site for professional networking), YouTube (a video sharing and video blogging platform), MySpace (a social entertainment platform), and Digg (a social news website), the Fifth Estate is quite a formidable force.