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How Can Government Take Facebook Seriously?

By Andrea Di Maio | March 22, 2011 | 1 Comment

social networks in government

A few days ago Socialbakers published statistics about the penetration of Facebook in terms of number of users per city (please note that you need to connect with your Facebook profile to see the whole list).

Results are quite interesting, since Caracas (Venezuela), Washington DC (USA) and Ankara (Turkey)  seem to be the capital cities in the world with the highest penetration, respectively 200%, 180% and 172%. Although it is likely that there are quite a few people who work or study in these cities and are not registered residents, the disproportion is quite amazing, and clearly suggests that many people have more than one profile.

Also, looking at the same country, results are quite different. in the US, Chicago has 34% while New York a meager 21%. If somebody things that this relates to size, consider that Jakarta, which has a larger population than both, has 80%. Looking at Spain, Barcelona has 54% while Madrid has 116%.

There is no way one can make sense of these, which seems to suggest that governments should be quite careful when dealing with Facebook as if it were a real place. There are a lot of inexplicable differences here, and maybe we should all take Facebook far less seriously than we actually do.

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1 Comment

  • Doug Hadden says:

    These are somewhat strange statistics. On the other hand, we could turn the statistics around and wonder whether governments should care about cable news or newspapers based on daily coverage.

    The difference is that traditional media acts as an intermediary between the government and citizen. Social media, like Facebook, puts governments in network, enabling a more direct communications of the government perspective. Therefore, having the opportunity to provide a direct message to even 5% of citizens sounds like a more effective spend than government advertising or press officer spin.