25 Things… About Facebook

Actually, this title actually overshoots its target:  it’s really one thing about Facebook, and to anyone who’s been traversing on the world’s most sociable networking site, you know what it is:  the “25 Things About Me” meme.

If you’re unfamiliar with the meme, Facebook style, the concept is simple:  the author would write 25 things about themselves – hopefully interesting things – and then tag 25 other people, who would then be charged with doing the same.  The Facebook meme concept is essentially a more proactive form of a chain letter, and for this meme, the model worked wonders.

In fact, it’s a meme that’s done so well that some people are looking at traffic numbers and wondering if the meme hasn’t help drive Facebook’s popularity itself in recent months.

According to CNet,

Analytics firm Compete.com says that there may actually have been a boost to Facebook traffic as a result of “25 Things,” at least in the U.S.: 60 percent more Facebook profiles were created in January than in December. That’s not surprising, because Facebook still requires a user account to access all its content–curious newcomers who read about “25 Things” would need to register for accounts in order to explore it.

It’s not a difficult concept to understand:  people enjoy writing about themselves, and by being charged with tagging 25 friends to do the same, it’s an easy meme to spread.  Throw in Facebook’s “updates” page, which advertises that a user has written one of these “notes,” and there you have it:  a bona fide phenomenon.

The increase of Facebook registrations and the spread of this internet meme doesn’t mean that one is causing the other, but there is evidence that this is the case.

First, note that it’s not necessarily Facebook’s other applications increasing, but the usage of “notes,” which is where the “25 Things” are written.  CNet also helped in supplying a graph that illustrates this point:

Facebook graph at CNET

As you can see, while Apps and Photos generally remained the same, the usage of notes increased.  Similarly, in the graph on the left, you see the raw data on the visitors to Facebook’s notes.

With all of these numbers behind us, we’re left to wonder about what drove the success of “25 Things.”  Is it simply the vanity of getting an excuse to write about yourself, advertising your greatness to the masses?  Do people really enjoy reading these notes or simply enjoy the prospect of writing their own?

Not a lot of people always use the “notes” feature on Facebook, but anyone who’s creative enough to come up with a self-sustaining Facebook meme like “25 Things” might be able to secure a lot of free advertising.

Dan Kenitz

Dan Kenitz is a former professional Search Engine Optimization specialist and current freelance writer, commentator, and all-around entrepreneur.

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