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The Trends of the Most Popular Social Networking Sites


Posted by on July 4, 2008

social mediaI spent a little while playing on compete.com and found the following charts rather interesting.  I decided to compare the trends of a few popular social networking sites such as myspace, twitter, facebook, youtube, and linkedin.  It’s really interesting to see the growth or decline of these sites.  When looking at the graphs ask yourself what may have caused the following trends.  I also added a brief commentary under each graph, I didn’t want to go in too much detail, but still, I gave my 2 cents.

Myspace

Myspace is still the top social networking site with around 60 million monthly views but their overall traffic is dropping fast.  I have a Myspace profile, but since Myspace has gone heavy on the spam advertising, I stopped using it.  Perhaps many other users feel the same way.  Myspace knows that their traffic levels are sinking and many of you may have noticed their recent site redesign to compete with facebook and hopefully bring back some of their lost traffic.  I’m still not sure Myspace quite gets it, they are all over the place and their advertsiging is just out of control.

Facebook

Facebook is still growing a steady pace if they keep on track then eventually they should surpass myspace in traffic, that is, unless facebook starts to go ad crazy.  I think people are starting to understand the use of facebook as a professional networking site and not just as a fun social utility.  Many of the college students that were the first facebook users have begun using facebook for job searching, communicating with future employers, etc.  I still prefer linkedin for my professional networking because facebook still has a lot of junk and kiddie applications that annoy me.  I am curious to see where facebook is headed though.

Twitter

Ah yes, twitter, my friend.  I definitely am an active twitter user and have found it to be a most valuable resource for sharing information, networking, learning from others, and staying up to date on industry news and trends.  Twitter’s traffic is still nowhere near that of facebook or myspace, but I am glad to see the positive upward trend.  Now if they can just get their act together and figure out what’s going in all of their down times and outages.  Oh, and a business model would be good too :)

Linkedin

Linkedin is my professional networking tool of choice.  I use it to ask my connections questions, answer other people’s questions, find clients, and meet other industry professionals.  Their traffic is taking a slight dip but I’m confident in their business model and in their ability to provide value to the end users.  Again, I am very curious to see what linkedin will look like in the next few years.

Youtube

You know, to be perfectly honest I’m not a huge Youtube user.  I will go on their site every now and then to look at few things, but other than that I would not call myself a Youtube-r.  I can definitely see the value and utility in it, both for businesses and individuals.  Everyone on Youtube is trying to create the next “viral” video and I don’t think anyone has or will ever figure out a secret formula for it.  That being said I think business should be a bit more prudent when putting up videos.  Avoid the boring scripted tutorials, or the brief 30 second company pitches, try to provide something of value.  There are plenty of tutorials out there done by individuals, not companies, that are great.  They are great because they are real and that is what people want.

We can see that the overall trend of many of the popular social networking sites is relatively healthy, which is great.  Social networking sites have definitely come a long way and I still think we have a long way to go.  More and more social networking sites are beginning to spring up, so the traffic is going to eventually dilute among other sites.  Still, I am looking forward to see the continued evolution of social networks.

Thanks for reading

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  • http://danielgraaff.com Daniel Graaff

    Thanks for bringing my attention to compete.com!

    Twitter was mostly a proof of concept. They cannot hang with centralized traffic, and will go the way of jabber. I hope they get a piece of the idea they birthed once it goes de-centralized:

    http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/326918547/article.pl

    Also, with Google “forced” to give up all the YouTube.com logs to the legal system, per the legal posturing of Viacom, they will likely feel a sting of user caution in the future. They too were a proof of concept technology. Now everyone and their relative has a similar video tool. Just goes to show, originality is rare (which is what makes it originality).

    Facebook has a lot of stigma in the “underground” for being a CIA data gathering source. Not that no other web network is not. At least myspace has that “made in a garage” feel about it to protect it from paranoid people making up legends.

    The strongest one you looked at was LinkedIn I believe. Where YouTube and Myspace and Twitter are really proof of concept technologies, LinkedIn actually plays into a constant in the universe: longevity. People on LinkedIn will value LinkedIn in the future because of how long someone has been on it, and how many long-time users are in a person’s network. It seems to be a return to a desire for tangible, referenceable history where the other tools are still very shallow, by nature.

    Good stuff. Glad I subscribed to your RSS feed with Vienna. //d

    (Since I view this weblog as valuable retrospectively when we’re in web 7.0 or whatever, once the web is so natural to us it is not versioned off, I have a correction: 4th sentence of paragraph #1 has word omitted, I believe it is “what”)

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com Jacob Morgan

    @daniel

    thanks for the in depth comments, i too believe linkedin may be the strongest of the group, at the moment they are also the only ones with a solid business model that does not simply rely on advertising, which in today’s web 2.0 world, is rare. the other tools are still a bit shallow, twitter really does have a lot of potential if they can ramp up their development and attract more users.

    *made the correction thanks :)

    thanks for reading and commenting, i’m glad you find the information interesting and engaging!

  • http://danielgraaff.com Daniel Graaff

    Twitter I am told holds the most value in being able to “sense” the reaction of a product put to market. So based on the Twitter traffic regarding the word “iPhone” for instance, Apple can gauge its releases and emphasis. I don’t know if the human organism as one whole will appreciate this over time. And as soon as they realize the main value it is geared toward, the natural response will be to say “thanks Twitter for the great idea,” and move on to open source means, protecting themselves. I mean think about it — My brother and his ex-girlfriend exchanged lists of what they were looking for in a person — lists, in like date two, and then they proceeded to have a natural relationship? No. Any time you reverse engineer the perception of authenticity and true understanding of a person or persons, you are cheating those people out of someone who actually feels the same as they do. The only powerful model for Twitter, without charging posters (which would fail) demands a consumerist, information predator view. Maybe I am being overly cautious, but I believe that LinkedIn and Twitter are diametrically opposed. LinkedIn forces one to create a *profile* themselves just to see the full profile of another, beyond what is public. And they emphasize authentic relationship (though people like to have 22,000 contacts and pretend that is humanly possible to maintain in real sincere interactions and opportunity sharing). Twitter is all about the anonymous world where the club itself makes money. The record label makes money, but you don’t really know if the artist is like you. I hope I am not splitting hairs here, but I think the divide comes in the area of authentic human contact. Twitter is great for me to know what is going on with people I care about, but the instant my conduit to another piece of this human organism becomes a food source for another person, without overt and declared, even necessary disclosure and real value to the community, and I do not mean price breaks on products I do not want, then they do not deserve conscious attention.

    It is cool to discuss such things, and I think the reason why I enjoy your blog is an example of the above rant. You are human, and not pitching me something underhandedly. I think marketing is a through-the-front-door industry. //d

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com Jacob Morgan

    @daniel

    thanks again for another insightful comment. twitter holds a different value for different people, for some it is having access to an instant focus group, for others it is a valuable news source, and still for others, it’s a place to engage in a world wide conversation or follow their friends.

    twitter has several options for a business model, charging for premium services, advertising, donations (the wikipedia way), monthly subscription, etc.

    People use twitter differently, personally I have met many of my twitter followers in person, and I make an effort to meet as many as I can.

    Linkedin and twitter are definitely different. linkedin is not a great instant communication tools, it’s a bit like e-mail. linkedin is more geared toward building business relationships whereas twitter serves to satisfy the natural curiosity that people have towards one another. of course if you can find a way to spread your content to people that are willingly subscribed to you, well then great :)

    thanks again for the kinds words and thanks for reading!

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