I was “tweeted” a fantastic article about social network stats released by compete.com.

There were a few non-surprises in it, however.

First thing, FaceBook has now surpassed MySpace in the U.S.  as the number one social network.  This should surprise nobody.  MySpace had such a terrible reputation that most adults avoided it (I know I did).  Now that adults have jumped onto social networks, they have jumped on to FaceBook.  I think it’s fair to say we’ve reached “critical mass” there, and FaceBook has won the “generic social network” battle (at least for now).

Non-surprise number two is that Twitter jumped from 22nd to 3rd.  Twitter has caught on with lightning speed.  I finally took the plunge a few weeks ago, and have quickly become a tweetaholic.  First of all the micro-blogging concept is very cool, then there are some neat “viral effects” you can encounter, practically in real-time, and then there are the fancy things you can do with your feed.

  • Tip #1: Every company out there today should register their twitter.com/their_company_name right now!

This said, I do believe it will level off at some point.  This doesn’t mean I think Twitter will completely go away – in fact, it still has tremendous growth ahead.  It’s here to stay for a long time, but it will level off in a year or two as the novelty factor subsides.  (Of course, who knows what other cool things are just around the corner – either with Twitter or elsewhere, which could easily change the game.)

Non-surprise number three is that LinkedIn jumped from number 9 to number 5.  LinkedIn has played a shrewd game of connecting business people.  If they maintain that focus, they’ll never be the “catch-all” network, but they will be the defacto “business network”, which, frankly, will give them a far better revenue model for the future than the generic advertising (or, gulp, user-pay) model that FaceBook and Twitter will struggle with for awhile.

  • Tip #2: Every businessperson should have a LinkedIn account.

I believe the model is already taking shape: people do their friends, family, political, club, and knitting-circle networking on FaceBook, and they do their business networking on LinkedIn.  Think to the future, and ask yourself: Do you really want to bother your business associates with pictures of your kid’s graduation?

Go through the rest of the list and check out some of the other sites that are there.  Mostly niche stuff, which is cool if you are interested in those niches, I suppose.  I’m going to have a bit of a sniff through and report on anything I find that proves interesting.

I am curious about the ranking’s absence of “Social Bookmarking” sites (I presume they didn’t look at these in the same category, which is fair game).

Also, the inclusion of 360.yahoo.com, but no mention of Google or Microsoft (which both have their own Social Networking tools).  I suppose Google and Microsoft, because they haven’t changed the URL on their tools, cannot separate out the “search traffic” from the “social networking traffic”, so didn’t quality for the list.

(Note: I would have embedded the classic SNL MySpace skit here, only NBC is so backwards that they don’t have a YouTube channel, and the only site that has it doesn’t stream outside the U.S.)

  • http://www.synaptici.com Gil Namur

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for sharing this article. Good advice and I agree with your assessment of twitter. I am probably a bit less optimistic about its staying power.

    I notice that StumbleUpon is not on that list. The reason I mention it is because it has ‘by far’ the most effect on my page views and hits. When someone gives me a thumbs up, I get upwards of 100 page views from SU within 12 hours. Last year, 5 people rated and thumbed up a guitar lesson at my music site and it generated over 45,000 direct hits in 3 days. To this day, I am still getting traffic from that one event.

    We all really need to leverage that!

    Cheers,
    Gil

  • http://paulholmes.ca/ Paul Holmes

    @Gil Namur
    I will have to rediscover StumbleUpon. My first experience with it was so-so.