Social Networks: Who’s Winning?

Over the last month, I have mentioned some Facebook posts to my children and wife and been told that “none of the kids” are using Facebook anymore.  I am being told that they have moved on to Instagram and Snapchat.  It is true, within our house and our kids’ circle of friends that most of them have moved to both Instagram and Snapchat, however, there are still a large number of younger users on Facebook, which is the biggest player in the social network game at this time.  Facebook started off as a social network for college students, beginning at Harvard and eventually spreading to other universities.  Zuckerberg had already created other social media sites while at Harvard.  This one, Facebook, now boasts almost 1.9B users.  That is unbelievable, and notably higher than the membership of this website.

Instagram was a social network that I understood.  It made sense to me for a social network where I can just share images and short text captions.  It filled a niche for users who were not necessarily concerned with friend connections and conversation as they were with sharing pictures of relevance to them. I believe the acquisition by Facebook was a great move for Facebook, while I am not sure how I feel about its effects on the Instagram service. For 1B dollars, a social network now showing 600M users, seems like a good deal.

Twitter has always been one of my favorites although it took me some time to get used to how the service works.  This site, while our Twitter following is low, has seen a big increase over the last few weeks and I hope to get much more value out of the service although Twitter has been one of the networks which has flatlined over the last year.  Their current count is 317M, which is half of Instagram’s subscribers. I have included a link to Smart Insights and their research on social media statistics for 2017.  There are some sites there that I am not familiar with, and I am also not excited to see that their main charge showing total user count leaves off Google+.  317M users is no small number, but I would like to see some more growth and not see the service becoming stagnant. Twitter is somewhat fun when you have to fit your message into a very limited character set.  I think this leads to more interesting posts than what one typically finds on Facebook or other social sites.

I became a Tumblr subscriber soon after the service started.  I have always been interested in social sites like MySpace and others that have come along over the years.  I created a Tumblr account and I posted there often for a while, but I never really got it.  Microblogging seems somewhat foreign to me.  Although I heard Tumblr referred to as a microblogging site, I never saw it as such.  It seemed to allow for too much content and so, I never understood what particular niche it filled.  It currently boasts 550M users, which is almost as much as Instagram and almost twice at many as Twitter.  That was not what I expected to see in the results of the study by Smart Insights.  I would be interested in hearing what other users do with Tumblr and how they understand it to fit into the social network landscape.

The last social network site I really wanted to focus on is Google+.  The current user count for this network is difficult to assess because of the way Google accounts work.  Almost everyone who uses Google for other services, such as Gmail or Calendar, also may have a Google+ profile.  However, the 2.2B user profiles are not all active.  In fact, a study conducted by Eric Enge, CEO of Stone Temple, showed that closer to 1% of those profiles are “active”.  Of those active profiles very few of those have actually posted more than 50 times to the social network and even fewer regularly post to the network.  Google, in spite of their popularity and success, has had many failed projects.  Most average consumers are not as keenly aware at the more technical crowd, but you might be familiar with Google Wave which only lasted a year or so between 2009 and 2010.  The idea was difficult for many to grasp as it was billed as a merging and improvement to email by combing instant messaging and social connections.  I was a Google Wave member and I hated to see the project fail.  Look here for a list of 37 failed Google projects.

What social networks are you active on?  Which networks do you see value in and which networks do you view as a complete failure?  We have seen some big flops like MySpace grow overnight and fail quickly against stiff competition.  Do you think there will be a rival to Facebook that will eventually bring it down, or has it made its mark on the Internet permanently?  We each have different personalities, different perspectives, and different backgrounds.  I think we will see a social aspect to almost every site on the Internet for the foreseeable future.  I look forward to hearing your opinions.

P.S. – While we are talking about social networks, let me make a shameless plug to get you to take time to add on any social media sites you are active on.  You will find us on Twitter , Facebook , and on Google Plus .



The Guardian

Smart Insights


Digital Trends