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« Meet Josh and Charlene in June and beyond | Main | Data chart of the week: forums, ratings, and reviews around the world »

June 01, 2008

Data chart of the week: social networks around the world

by Josh Bernoff

There's a lot of speculation about social networks, and predictions usually go in one of two directions:

  • This is growing and soon everybody will be on one (or more than one)
  • This is a fad and even the college students will tire of it eventually.

(You could also call these the "Facebook is worth $20 Billion" and "Facebook is worth nothing" factions.)

To add fuel to the debate, this week's data chart, from Chapter 2 of Groundswell looks at participation in social networks around the world.

social networks by country

Important caveats on this data -- while these surveys were all taken with 6 months of each other 2007, the methodologies are not the same: US is an online survey, Europe is a mail survey, and Asia is a telephone survey. In each case, the base is all online consumers, and people were asked the question "do you visit a social networking site at least monthly?" or "how frequently do you visit a social networking site?" with examples from their own country. We count only those who visit at least monthly.

That said, this variation is fascinating, to me at least.

Does Korea have the highest participation because of CyWorld, or because Koreans love to connect?

Why are Germany, and especially France, so low? Is it something about the way French people behave online, or is there an opening for a great French social network (or the French version of an existing one, like Facebook)?

Charlene says that in the future, social networks will be like air, surrounding everything. If she's right, the very nature of this question will change.

I challenge you -- will the US become like Korea, and will France become like either one? What do you think?

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» Groundswell from Doug Wagner @ Sunwapta
If you are on the Internet you’ve heard about the social web. Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the list goes on, are generating a number of books on how to use social networking as a marketing and public relations tool. [Read More]

Comments

David Guillocheau

is france ten times less "connected to social networks" than US and 3 times than Germany ? i don't believe so.

for example : skyblog.com (a sort of myspace but created before, in 2002) has 16,088,939 Blogs, or viadeo (like linkedin) more than 1,5 Millions members.

I'm not saying that france is more and better than others, but may be the survey didn't "catch" well the french air.

Web 2.0 Asia

Cyworld must be playing a significant part, but it's certainly not all of the Korean social network. There are blogs, forums (especially heated by the recent the so-called "beef protesters"), and twitter-like apps (like Me2day.net). Korean people, like (reportedly) the Turkish and Brazilians, are also prone to connect with others - the ubiquity of high-speed internet doesn't hurt too.

Hugo E Martin

Josh you're ask why France and Germany have so low figures (visiting SN sites) in your Charts. It comes from the data you are using and doesn't reflect the internet behavor of people in France (and Germany). Maybe you need to add some Social Network you have never heart of in US ;-) - they do exist!

In your intro you talk about that this chart shows how people 'participate' in SN, than you talk about visits?

Bertrand Duperrin

I'm surprised by French figures but it may also depend on the considered networks.

Are we talking about social media in general (including blogs or platforms like agoravox) or only social networks platforms ? And, in this second case,do the statistics come from use of international platforms or do they also include local ones ?

It may explain how these numbers seem to be so far from what we see here.

Josh Bernoff

Our French survey asks people how often they "Utiliser des sites de mise en relation"

Examples we suggest include Viadeo and Friendset.

We ask about blogs in a different question. People may not think of skyblog as a social network.

The challenge is these things are beginning to blend together in ways that vary by country.

Kuro

"sites de mise en relation" is barely a definition and certainly not a French idiom for "social network".

It sounds more like "dating website".

It somehow implies that the network is meant for actually meeting people (irl) and thus does not cover everything the phrase "social network" covers.

vasco

Germany is so low because it took people here 4 years after match.com broke 80M in yearly revenue to realise that you can find somebody to date online.

And that´s dating. At least that´s pretty close to social networking. Germany is a nice market - once you survive the long dry period of skepticism. Greetings from Berlin.

Nils

I think as well that the data for France and Germany are too low. France is very popular for blogging. I heard that France has twice as much blog postings than Germany although the population is lower. I can't judge the number of Germans on social networks but as far as I know ARD/ZDF published last year something around 20%...
We conducted an international social network study a few weeks back...everybody who is interested...
http://www.ethority.net/blog/index.php/archives/2008/facebook-myspace-linkedin-and-xing-are-the-major-topics-within-the-world-wide-web-the-international-social-network-study-by-ethority/

Bruno

Can you share the number of responses for your survey ? The figures for specific countries can be biased by a very low number of valid responses.
Did you calculate error margins for the results ?

Douglas Wagner

How do the numbers differ in Canada?

Daniel

And a bit of more geographical picture of the same issue: http://lowemoscow.blogspot.com/2008/03/social-networks-around-globe.html

http://lowemoscow.blogspot.com/2008/03/
social-networks-around-globe.html

Paul Paradise

I think the surge in social networks will reside given the fact that most depend on click through ads for funding. This will be a major issue for them as users are becoming more and more "blind" to PPC ads. The only way they can survive long term is to charge for their services. Or develop top-notch ad campaigns with major businesses as apposed to low-key click client ads.

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