Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Social Networks Around The World: Facts & Figures (worldwide)

For "Social Networks Around The World: How is Web 2.0 Changing Your Daily Life?" , I have taken 1,000 social networks under the microscope in an attempt to see where we are with social networking at this point, and where we are heading in the future. What impact do these new Web 2.0 technologies have on the way we communicate, buy & sell and meet new people? Will social networks be the prelude to a new era where we, the consumer, dictate the way companies do business with us or is it yet another hype? By taking a look at the way social networks are founded, used and spread throughout communities worldwide, we glean insight into how the world is changing - social technology does not necessarily follow political dominance but sometimes reflects the way countries and cultures look at the world.

Business : 12%
Friends: 27%
Dating: 5%
Special Interest: 40%
Video/Photo: 12%
Mobile: 4%

In order to see more clearly into the jungle of all the social communities out there, I have introduced 6 different categories:

  1. Business, e.g. Linkedin
    These are the Social Networks (SN) where the primary objective is to exchange business ideas, to find new clients and/or suppliers, to find a new position or to get noticed by headhunters and future employers,...

  2. Friends, e.g. Facebook
    These sites are arguably the "founders" of social networking: revolving around old and new friends, these SN allow you to (re)connect to old schoolmates, find new friends to hang out with online and possibly offline, and to have fun.

  3. Dating e.g. Meetic
    Even though dating sites have been present on the Internet from the very beginning, I have only taken into consideration those dating sites which have added Web 2.0 elements into their package. (Interestingly enough, gay sites seem to have picked up on social networking faster than some of their straight counterparts.)

  4. Special Interest, e.g. Bookmooch
    This is a huge category in its own right, gathering niche sites built around a vast amount of subjects, such as: books, music, parenting, food, religion, cars, hobbies,...

  5. Video/Photo, e.g. YouTube
    Many of the video and photosites today have become real online communities where people share more than just a video or picture, and instead allowing them to share opinions, interact between themselves, offering opinions etc- turning them into a SN of their own.

  6. Mobile, e.g. Dodgeball
    A relatively new type of SN is the so-called mobile social network, also called MoSoSo (Mobile Social Software), where you connect to a community through your moble phone instead of through the Internet. However, many of these Mososos allow you to access the community through their website as well.

    As you can see, Special Interest sites and Friends sites are predominant, largely because Friends sites started the whole phenomenon of social networking, and because Special Interest sites are the fastest growing category within the United States, which, by its sheer number, influences the results considerably.

Remark 1: Surprisingly enough, professionally oriented sites make up only 12% of all social networks worldwide. This still leaves a huge market for good business networks to fill. Also, it makes me smile when I hear managers telling me that they don't need these social networks or that they are only used by teenagers...Looking at these figures I think we will see more and more business managers using social networks to enhance their own profiles and/or to do business through them for their companies.

USA & Canada: 51%
Latin America: 2%
Africa: 1%
Australia & New Zealand: 1,50%
Asia: 6%
India: 2,50%
Middle East: 2,50%
Russia & Ukraine: 1,50%
Europe: 31%

Remark 2: In absolute figures, we see that the USA and Canada are leading the pack with 51% of all social networks worldwide. However, it also means that half of all SN are founded outside the United States, contrary to popular belief where we sometimes assume that all SN comes from America. Europe is a good runner up with one third of all SN. I was surprised to see that Eastern Europe helps build this figure with many SN of its own. It is therefore not a given that countries which are industrialized since many years, necessarily are at the forefront of technology, but that newly industrialized countries can take leadership in Web 2.0 as well.


Basil said...

Great work An! When is your book coming out?

headhunterblog said...

You did it again An, very impressing stuff to read. My compliments.
Peter Wiersinga, HUNTaHEAD.

An De Jonghe said...

Actually Basil, the book is now available on Amazon: