Philadelphia. Although this is a staggering number, the small percentage (a quarter of one hundredth percent!) reminds us that it is still a
very low rate. Forty-one-year-olds are still young, after all, so Facebook’s
death rates will continue to rise each year as users mature and grow
more susceptible to other leading causes such as strokes and diabetes.
In this way, little by little each year, social media will more accurately
reflect social ills, and in real time.
As Facebook’s population grows, it’s more common to hear people
speak of Facebook as a nation. Now at one billion, the Facebook nation
ranks third in population behind only China and India. Facebook is
three times as large as the next country on the list, the USA. Thinking of
Facebook as a nation is a worthwhile tool—since so many people already
speak of it this way—but it isn’t utilized nearly well enough. There are
other statistics we use to measure nations that suggest the quality of life
of their citizens and reveal a nation’s vital stats. Considering population
is a good start—after all, there’s much in that word. Facebook’s clientele
really is more like a “population” than a mere “demographic.” Its users
now encompass all ages, classes and races. But ordinarily we stop there.
Looking beyond population to Facebook’s “birth rate” is telling, for
example. Although Facebook continuously grows deeper into our lives,
it’s a little-known fact that Facebook’s population is actually leveling out.
In 2012, the website’s growth was reported at its lowest recorded rate.
Last June, it experienced an actual drop in its population in America.
At one billion, Facebook has attracted just about everyone it can attract.
For further growth, or even to sustain its current numbers, Facebook
will increasingly rely on being able to attract new users who are just
coming of age.
To Facebook’s great displeasure, then, it’s the oldest crowd that immigrates to the site at the highest rate. According to Nielsen, Facebook’s
fifty and older demographic—which, of course, has the highest death
rate—is growing at a rate that’s double the website’s total growth. As
the website transforms into a country for old men (and women)—and
dead ones—it will have greater trouble attracting the youth that it needs
to sustain its population. So as Facebook ages rapidly, we can expect it
to be still more difficult for it to find young users to replace the dying
ones. And if it can’t, Facebook will stagnate very quickly into a book of