The More Things Change…

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of presenting the “State of the State of Digital” to a bright, interested and engaged audience. In pulling the presentation together, I was served my daily reminder of just how much things have changed. To wit:

“If Facebook were a country, it would be the 8th most populated in the world, just ahead of Japan.” — Mark Zuckerberg, January 7, 2009

To be clear, when I say I was reminded how much things have changed, I mean since January 7, 2009. According to Facebookʼs most recent numbers, it has over 250 million members. Which would place them fourth on the most populated countries in the world list. Now ahead of Indonesia. Nigeria, we hardly knew thee.

Thatʼs quite a jump in seven months. And it raises an important question. In these exponential times in which we live, how fast do numbers become irrelevant? If Wikipedia can have trouble keeping up, what are the rest of us to do?

One surprising exception – time spent online. Forrester reports the amount of time spend online per week by the average American is 12 hours. Last year that number was… 12 hours. Thatʼs not exponential at all. According to analyst Jackie Anderson, “Engagement with the online channel has deepened. Web users are becoming savvier and are better multi-taskers.” So while hours online arenʼt growing, productivity is. And competition for their time has (potentially, exponentially). Savvier users will look for savvier solutions. And, with this deeper engagement and apparent comfort, the internet is starting to “more closely resemble a traditional media channel.” Oh, how quickly things change.

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