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First, Facebook was bigger than France. Now it's better than a Christmas card?
For the second consecutive year, Facebook produced a new high for traffic during the holidays. In 2007, traffic peaked on Christmas Day. In 2008, it peaked on Christmas Eve, when the site accounted for a little more than 2% of all U.S. Internet traffic, researcher Hitwise reports.
The implication? Facebookers were online to offer and receive holiday greetings, myself included. I used the site to send a note to a New York relative who's been in touch recently. Even though we're in Denver now, I've lived on both coasts, and Facebook is my lifeline to the old neighborhoods.
Data like this is why everyone wants to be more social -- from New York Times (NYSE: NYT ) to Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) . But no one knows whether sites like Facebook and News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS ) MySpace can monetize this and other, similar aspects of social networking.
So far, keeping in touch with friends hasn't created cash flow -- not enough, anyway. Facebook's gravy train has gone dry, along with its growth. So if I'm skeptical that the rise of Facebook means the end of the Hallmark moment, a death knell for American Greetings (NYSE: AM ) and its peers, you'll know why.
And let's be honest: Your mom isn't going to appreciate a Facebook doodad for Mother's Day. She wants a card, flowers, and maybe some candy. So long as she does, 1-800-Flowers (Nasdaq: FLWS ) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B ) can relax; Facebook isn't better than a Christmas card.
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