The buzz in Toronto this past week is all about Facebook – as of 2pm this afternoon, Toronto has 573,355 people in the Toronto, ON network on Facebook – that’s 11% of the population of the greater Toronto metro area (GTA) and is the largest regional network on Facebook by a significant margin.
Ryan Feeley has created a comparative table of major metros on his blog. To put this into perspective, Toronto has more Facebook members than New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined (the combined population of those cities is almost 9 times the size of Toronto). This phenomenon extends beyond Toronto to the rest of Canada too – both Calgary and Montreal have 8% of their population on Facebook. It also extends beyond the major metropolitan regions to small towns across the entire country.
So, why are Torontonians (and the rest of Canadians) so addicted to Facebook? As reported in the local press, the Ontario government, concerned that its employees were spending too much time on the site, banned it from its office computers last week. Thousands of civil servants came to work only to find that Facebook had been blocked like porn.
CTV reported on the phenomenon – they theorized that its because there are 100,000 students across the key universities in the city. Nice try CTV – that’s not the answer.
A recent post on Facebook’s blog entitled “Oh Canada…” says, “There may not be one single reason why Facebook is so popular in Canada, but rather a combination of tipping-point factors that continue to make networks like Toronto so unique in terms of growth.” Canada has 2 million Facebookers which represents 10% of the Facebook universe.