When my roommate told me in horror last week that our Israeli landlady friend-requested her on Facebook, my response was that I was not surprised.
“But she’s really old!” my roommate exclaimed. Pushing retirement age, our landlady’s using Facebook does seem to be a bit unusual, especially, since Hebrew is her primary language. However, considering Israeli’s propensity for adopting new technology and the weight that Israeli culture puts on protexia (networking) in general, I figured it was only a matter of time before she would join and search one or all of us out on Facebook.
And, indeed, her having joined Facebook does represent an overall Facebook adoption rate by Israelis that is starting to turn heads. A few weeks ago, when I mentioned in passing my observation that the Facebook Israel Network had over 100,000 members, I was not aware of the discussion that Internet luminaries, Jeff Pulver, Shel Israel and Moshe Maeir were also having about it between their blogs.
Now having read their posts (thanks to a post on Alec Saunders’ blog), I find that they have really put this into perspective. According to Moshe Maeir’s blog, from August to October 15th, the Israel Network grew from 18,000 to 70,000. By October 25th, it reached 100,000 and yesterday (November 10, 2007) it hit 150,000 – that’s 50% in two weeks. Of course, as someone raised in a comment on Pulver’s blog, this number does not even include the many Israelis who haven’t listed themselves in a network (such as my landlady’s adult children).
While this is something to watch, Maeir brought up an even more significant fact by pointing out that “about half [of the Israelis in the Israel Network] are above the age of 24, which means that Facebook is moving away from the college age origins.” (Something that rings true with my land lady’s joining it.) He goes on to state that this is part of a trend of Facebook becoming more of a “serious networking platform for business.” A trend, that given the amount of Israel business groups being created on Facebook, is clearly being taken advantage of and is in full force on the Israel Network.