the third largest nation on earth welcomes its billionth citizen, er, user

it didn’t exist eight years ago.  well, it did but it fit into the dorm room of a harvard undergraduate.  and now it’s the third largest nation on earth, having welcomed its one billionth citizen on september 14, 2012.  it took china (biggest country) and india (second) thousands of years to make that milestone.

the united states of america has a little more than 300 million users, er, citizens. so think about it–mr. romney or mr. obama will be president to less than half of the people that 28 year old mark zuckerberg rules, er, services.  some people doubt facebook can sustain growth and add on another billion.  but mark’s been visiting china where potential facebook citizens are blocked by the government, and he’s had negotiations with russia as well.

still, mark zuckerberg is having a rough summer.  he’s having trouble making money.  right now, facebook makes a mere four billion in revenue last year.  that’s like each of us handing mark four dollars so we can post pictures of our cats doing cute things, our kids doing cute things, and inspirational messages.  google, with about as many users, squeezes $38 billion in revenue.  the difference?  advertising and google’s better use of mobile devices.

what facebook hasn’t said is whether the billion citzens of this online nation includes the fakes.  last year, when i made a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends, i was surprised by the number of duplicate accounts, spambots, and businesses dressed up as friends.  it was roughly ten percent of my friends list and that tracks facebook’s admission that 9.7% of its users are “undesirables” of this sort.

one of my facebook friends that i “visited” last year was william clark, the nineteenth century explorer and officer in the united states army. he’s dead, he’s a duplicate of sorts to his biographer my facebook friend lanny jones and he’s not actually sitting here in my bedroom. i think he would be technically part of that 9.7% but i think he’s adorable!


it’s been a facebook bashing summer, what with the i.p.o. being a bit disappointing but you gotta give some credit to a kid in his dorm room who has allowed people to make an estimated 140 billion friendship connections.  that’s quite a friendly country you got there, mark!


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