Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is reveling in its achieving one billion users recently, and the company is continuing to face the challenge of finding ways to keep users engaged in the Web site and perhaps make a little revenue on advertising in the process - especially on mobile devices, where reportedly 60 percent of Facebook Inc. (FB) users now access the site.
But can a Web site like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) develop an addiction in users to where they will have a certain level of "stickiness" on the site and frequency of visiting? If it seems far-fetched, then consider a study by a U.S. business school.
Results of a study conducted by the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago revealed that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) or other social-networking sites are as addicting as sex or cigarettes. The study, conducted in Germany among subjects ranging from 18 to 85 years old and given a BlackBerry device made by Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM), revealed that temptations to check social media were just as difficult to resist as sex and cigarettes and more so than alcohol.
Subjects in the study were asked to report to the study administrators every 30 minutes about various temptations - to check social media sites like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) along with temptations to smoke, sleep, drink, and other such urges and rate them from "strong" to "irresistible." The author of the study, Wilhem Hoffman, said that the study revealed that the temptation may be very strong because of the ease of the effort and availability of social media compared to sex, cigarettes and the like, and that ease likely affects the level of the temptation or addiction.
The question might be, then, can Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) find a way to monetize Facebookism? It's at least something to consider for investors like billionaire fund manager Jeffrey Vinik of Vinik Asset Management.