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The Social Media Decade

Facebook was launched as recently as 2004 but in a world that changes at an ever-increasing pace, social media is now the dominant force on the World Wide Web and Silverpop.com has taken a look at this quickly morphing phenomenon over the last decade.

Social media sites are where most of us spend most of our time. And the share is only going to grow. In 2012, Nielsen’s figures on US social media use recorded an increase of 37 per cent in the time spent on social sites in just one year.

Today’s top five social media sites are: Facebook with one billion users and rising, Twitter with 500 million tweeters, Google+ is rising with 400 million users while the fourth and fifth sites are the Chinese networks Weibo, their Facebook (the US one is banned) and Twitter-alike RenRen.

LinkedIn and Instagram are closing in on the big five while Badoo – a dating network that’s big in Latin America – sits at number seven.

Social networks seem to have a natural life pattern too, as Silverpop points out. That is, it’s easy to grow for the first three years as the world gets excited by a novel new toy (nine out of 11 sampled companies did). But then things get tougher and only five of their sample went on to grow in years four, five and six.

But getting over the third year hump could mean a site is on to something that will last. Here are the fourth year membership growth figures for some of the big boys: Twitter grew by a factor of eight, Facebook by six and Tumblr – which is 10th in the survey – grew up to four times.

Silverpop picks out some stars of the future, which marketers may want to focus their efforts on. Foursquare, Instagram (despite its recent troubles) and Tumblr have expanded with widespread smartphone use. And three new sites – Path, Pinterest and audio sharing site Soundcloud – are still young but growing very vigorously.

Growing slowly but steadily are LinkedIn, Yelp (yes, Yelp is social) and photo site Flickr, which had a big boost from Instagram’s privacy settings own goal.

The survey seems to be based on some decent research, Silverpop says it used 85 sources, and is worth viewing in full, here.:


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