The holidays have ended and most of the predictions have been published. We now start the process of measuring the results and doing comparisons. We list the winners and the losers, the business gains or losses, and start analyzing what caused it all to turn out the way it did.
There is one measurement that I have been interested in this year:
How did Facebook do?
Particularly; how did this social network do in the most social period of the year; Christmas?
Well, according to Allfacebook, the season was bright for Facebook this Christmas. Not only did they end the year with great user growth, but they claimed the title of the most visited site on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and beat the mighty Google…
Why did a network that connects people from remote locations do so well on these two days? I believe that there is connection between the holiday based upon sharing and our human tendency to reach out to those we love during important life events.
Millions entered Facebook on those two days because they wanted to share in the lives of friends and family. They craved an opportunity to reclaim an old memory or to add a new one. They believed that others would be there, and they joined them in a virtual gathering place, as a substitute for real human contact. If you can’t be together in person, then a virtual meet-up is a viable substitute.
This technology is a gift, and it is understandable that on the two most gift-focused days of the year, we would open this network and share in the experience with others.
I have long believed that Facebook is similar to a traditional Christmas party, where the host has a huge address book and owns an enormous hall for gathering people together. Once invited to this party, a guest finds a group of friends, family or acquaintances and begins one of many conversations.
There are loosely organized activities that facilitate interaction between the participants. There are tables set-up around the hall displaying various board games that appeal to many interests. There are name tags and scrapbooks to assist in doing introductions or starting discussions.
This huge Christmas party has a grasious host who allows almost anyone to enter the hall and enjoy the event.
There is one thing missing from the party…
It is the thing that drives retail sales in the 4th quarter of every year. It is what we measure much of US retail sales against.
It is the gifts….
Facebook has the party atmosphere and facilities set-up pretty well, but the gifts are missing.
It could be argued that they have a huge gift system, and they do… But they are virtual gifts… They aren’t real.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the real world gathers in homes and halls to share real gifts to demonstrate real support and love. Real Christmas parties involve gifts that can be felt, both physically and emotionally.
Facebook did win the key-stroke measurement contest on Christmas Eve and Day, but they missed the opportunity to pass out of the presents.
How could that be fixed?
Thanks to The List for the image