Three of my Israeli friends have joined Facebook this week and that’s no coincidence. Israel’s Facebook participation is skyrocketing.
Israelis + Facebook = Love
Does this mean that approximately 2,600 Israelis are joining Facebook a day? How can this be?
Let’s look at what we do know.
Israelis on Facebook by the Numbers
Here are Israel’s Facebook users by chronology:
- June: 18,000 users
- August: 18,000 users (no discernible change from June to August)
- October 15th: 70,000 users
- October 25th: 100,000 users
- November 11th: 152,00 users (according to Ha’aretz); Jeff Pulver cites 175,840 for the same day (see chart below)
- November 19th (today): 184,460*
That’s exponential growth.
* This number has risen to 186,200 from the time I started writing this entry. That’s probably a four hour time span as I took a break in the middle. I can’t imagine 1,700+ Israelis sitting at home on computers in Tel Aviv, Nahariya, Kiryat Shmona, Eilat, Ashdod, and Modi’in signing up for Facebook accounts tonight– but it looks like that is what is happening.
If we are estimating by October and November’s numbers that 2,600 Israelis are joining Facebook a day, tonight’s statistics fit the pattern.
The Growth Rate
What accounts for this tremendous rate of growth?
My friends say that Facebook’s viral marketing has taken root in a number of ways:
- “All of my classmates were talking about it, so I decided to check it out”
- “I heard about it at the beginning of the school year” (which started mid-October– note the growth in numbers around that time)
- More time during the strike to be online
Jacob Richman has recorded over 840 Israel related Facebook groups, although most are started by Jews outside of Israel.
Jeff Pulver marked Israel’s growth rate as second in the world only to Turkey.
How High Can Israel’s Numbers Go?
When it comes to Israelis on Facebook, one of the first questions that comes to mind is how high can Israel’s saturation go? Let’s review some key issues that will affect the prediction:
- Although Facebook is Hebrew and Arabic enabled, most of the features require some degree of English literacy
- Israel is known worlwide for its technology expertise. Technological penetration within the population is deep as there is high exposure to new technologies and the population is very adaptive
- It is widely acknowledged that Israel is a communal society based on connections and “protekzia.” Facebook feeds into this inclination
In the way of Facebook gossip, YNet News featured a story today about members of Knesset creating Facebook profiles.
Yoel Hasson (Kadima), whose Facebook account is two weeks old, says: “The site is an excellent way to communicate with people. Through Facebook I can reach a young audience, the kind of people I don’t easily meet in other places, and for a young MK that deals with student affairs, this is highly important.”
Israel Hasson (Yisrael Beitanu) adds: “I believe it is very important that we use all the means at our disposal to promote the ideas we believe in, and I think we cannot ignore social and technological phenomena like this social network.”
For a drop of humor, check out the captions on the YNet link.
As for me, I will look forward to adding more of my Israeli friends to my social network and plan on keeping you updated on Facebook Israel.
Computer lab photo sourced from here. MK photos sourced from YNet (as linked).
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