In August 2008, Facebook had 100 million users. According to a March 29 New York Times article, that number will have doubled one day this week. That's a significant milestone tor each in only five years.
We used to talk about the digital divide in terms of people being online/offline. Given the penetration and pervasiveness of the Internet that's probably not much of a useful distinction any longer. Perhaps the new standard will be those individuals and organizations who have a presence on social networking sites and those who don't.
Managing one's online presence and identity is becoming increasingly important, both personally and professionally. Google yourself and you're likely to find your Facebook, LinkedIn, or MySpace profiles among the top 20 results.
But as more and more people rush to social media and other online technologies, the sponsoring organizations and associations should remember this fundamental principle so succinctly asserted by Crowdsourcing author Jeff Howe at ASAE & The Center's Technology Conference earlier this year: it's not about the technology, but what type of human behaviors the technology can engender.
And as social media technologies engender behaviors that once were too difficult to do offline, conferences need to think about what behaviors can only (or best) be engendered by the human technology of face-to-face interaction and aggressively revise their schedules and formats accordingly. And newsletters and magazines need to think similar about the content and needs their formats can best serve given the searcvhing, skimming, and scanning behaviors that Google and the Web so easily facilitate.
Such very basic considerations, no doubt, but ones that very few organizations have sufficiently addressed.