What Does the State of Social Media Look Like?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this recent analysis by Ignite Social Media of the state of 54 social networks speaks volumes. The data comes from using Google Insights for Search and Google Ad Planner. While gathering the data and summarizing it isn't breaking any new ground, translating it into infographic formats to make it easier to digest makes these findings much the more interesting.
In the past, I've suggested that there is a limit to the number of social networks that any one individual can really participate in. For me, it's three -- Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. There are some others that I will dip into for a specific need, such as OpenTable, but for the most part those are the three that I keep open all day long. As a reflection of the findings of the research, I rarely visit MySpace anymore. So what does the research tell us?
- Social networking is pretty much an equal opportunity pastime with participants split almost evenly between men (51 percent) and women (49 percent).
- Habbo and Bebo have the youngest user demographic, while Plaxo and Newsvine have the oldest. Interesting how that reflects what each age group wants to get out of social networking. For the younger crowd, it's games, personal connections, sharing perspectives; for the older generation, it's information, news and professional connections.
- LinkedIn has the most affluent user community, while Kaxin001.com, a China-based social network supposedly has the most educated.
- And finally, whose stock is rising and whose is falling? No real surprises. LinkedIn, along with Facebook and Twitter are the biggest winners, with MySpace and Ning among those fading fast.
You can read more details on the findings here.
So what does this all mean? Any great insights to be gleaned from this research? Maybe it's just that social networking simply continues to grow and evolve. Much like Geoffrey Moore's premise in The Gorilla Game, the market is now dominated by three Gorillas -- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn -- with a whole raft of chimps and monkeys taking more niche-based strategies. Will any of those chimps or monkeys (e.g., Zynga/FarmVille) ever usurp the leadership position of any of the Gorillas? History and the evolution of technology tells us that someday that will happen. But for now, focusing your energies on the big three while occasionally dabbling with the others is the way to go.
Tell me what you think?