Were you on Facebook on Christmas Day? So was everyone else

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The BBC is reporting that Facebook was the second most trafficked web site on December 25, 2008. The reason, according to Hitwise, an Internet research firm that announced its findings, is that people were saying hello to their loved ones -- instead of sending cards and calling family members.

Of course, one could read that as another sign that the economy's falling apart, but I think Facebook's milestone -- it had its busiest day ever over the holidays -- has more to do with social networking sites being more popular than ever, our lives going ever more digital, and the fact that it's just so darn easy to send a message to a zillion friends and family through Facebook versus, say, going to a store and buying a card. At least that's been my experience.

Just how popular was Facebook on December 25? For some perspective, out of every 22 web sites that were visited on Christmas Day, one of those was Facebook.

Of course, as noted, Facebook was the second most popular web site that day. The most popular web site was -- no shock here -- Google.com Coming in third was YouTube.com. My guess is that part of the reason for YouTube's popularity that day were all of those Facebook messages, telling friends to check out the video they took of their cousin or boss dancing in their underwear with a lampshade on their head at a holiday party.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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