Atlantans latch onto Facebook

Study: Site sees 142% jump in users in metro area in last 6 months.

Atlanta is embracing Facebook faster than any other major metropolitan area, a study shows.

The number of Facebook users in the Atlanta area rose 142 percent the past six months, from 535,000 to nearly 1.3 million, according to a digital marketing firm called iStrategyLabs.

Los Angeles (97 percent) and Houston (71 percent) saw the next highest increases.

Peter Corbett, a 2003 Emory grad who founded iStrategyLabs, said he has no solid theories to explain the Atlanta surge. He's analyzed Facebook usage for two years using data Facebook publicly supplies to its advertisers.

A Facebook spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the last half of 2008, Facebook usage in the Atlanta area rose just 6.5 percent. Overall, nearly 72 million Americans now use the social networking site, and Facebook's demographics keep getting older. People ages 35 to 54 comprise the biggest group, followed by those 25 to 34.