Farmville might actually be good for something

This farm could bail out an entire country's economy.

Facebook applications are responsible for as many as 235,000 jobs worth up to $15.1 billion, according to a new study released by the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Some of that number is people literally employed in the Facebook apps business — more than 53,000, according to the report, including Farmville developer Zynga, which now employs more than 2,000 people and is worth $15-20 billion. With a ‘b.’

Those 53,000 are estimated to make an average salary of $66,762, and spending by those people and firms accounts for an additional 129,310 to 182,210 jobs. That’s a lot of adorable Internet strawberry patches.

Even just the Facebook “Like” button on outside websites contributes to the economy, though it’s outside the scope of this particular report:

Each of these components of Facebook Platform creates jobs, and each of those jobs contributes value to the economy. For example, the existence of the “Like” button creates economic value by enabling people to share their experiences online with their friends. These friends provide increased referral traffic for companies’ websites, which in turn creates value for those companies, which in turn results in hiring new employees and retaining existing ones, which in turn results in those employees making purchases and paying rent or making mortgage payments.

So next time you spend four hours plowing fictional crops, don’t think of it as a rapid and pointless withdrawal from actual society — think of it as a contribution to the economy.

You can also check out Campus Drive on Facebook and on Twitter at @theDBK.

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