This study is as scientific as you can get. A large sampling over time.
We are staying at the Grand Paradise Samana in Dominican Republic. It is a large, all-inclusive resort so far from population centers that there is no cell service or internet.
Which is how the hotel is getting away with charging $10 for 15 minutes of internet access on their two very-outdated computers. You have to buy a password from the front desk and wait in line for your 15 minutes of access to the world.
And what are people doing with their 15 minutes? FACEBOOK. Every one of them.
I know…because I am here for 10 days and I had to negotiate with the hotel manager for a 10-day unlimited password. That took a full 24 hours, as the manager on duty the afternoon we checked in said to come back the next morning at 9…and it was noon before the property manager came in. It seemed what I requested had never come up before…a negotiated fee for 9 days of access. Fortunately, the little area with the computers also has wireless so I can set up my laptop at a counter in the back of the room and spend a hour or two each morning and the same period late each afternoon checking my e-mails and responding to reservation requests. It actually took four different user names and passwords before I got one which would let me log in more than once. It is like Internet 1996.
But I am now online without problem…and I am observing those who accessing the internet in front of me. Every ONE of them is going straight to their Facebook pages. Every one. And considering the expense, these are not casual surfers.
The hotel is large and very full. There are tour groups from Canada, France and Italy. I hear German, French, Spanish, Italian….I am sure others. There are so few English speakers here that we have begun approaching couples at the pool and at the beach only because we hear some English.
So in my little observation perch in the “Internet Center” as the sign says, I have witnessed probably 100 different people going on-line and like I said. Facebook. Only Facebook.
I know that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs BOTH have invested their fortunes and energies in trying to find a platform that the world would adopt as a standard. No such luck. It had to happen virally…and it did.
And here in Samana, Dominican Republic, I can tell you, it’s Facebook all the way.