Facebook must be largest smart mob
September 19th, 2009

In a post on his blog edgelings today titled “Facebook Rules the World,” Michael S. Malone says, “The cultural side of technology revolutions have a tendency to sneak up on us.” Social networking did not sneak up on Howard Rheingold, who foresaw much of what is happening when he wrote about Smart Mobs in 2003. Here is some of what Malone has written in his post about what I suppose is the largest smart mob out there now, Facebook:

Three hundred million members is a mind-boggling number.  In terms of population, it would put Facebook on the list only behind China, India and the United States – and just above Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan.  It is almost as big as the entire population of the European Union, of sub-Saharan Africa, or South America.  And, incredibly, it is equal to the entire population of the world in 1000 A.D.

Facebook, of course, isn’t really a sovereign nation.  Still, one could make the case that at least to millions of young people – who visit the site a dozen or more times per day, take their cultural cues from the site, use it as their communications infrastructure to their social groups, and define their self-worth by how they are rated by others on the site – it is has become a de facto, virtual, second country to which they owe a special kind of allegiance.

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