A List of Social Networking Sites And The Questions It Made Me Ask About Twitter

The following is a recently updated list of social networking sites derived from Experian’s Hitwise.com, main data center page:  

“Top 20 Social Networking Websites — ranked by visits (for the week ending 2/27/2010). (see right vertical column, second category)

1.  Facebook — 50.15%

2.  Youtube — 15.21%

3.  MySpace  — 15.08%

4.  Tagged — 1.16%

5.  Twitter — 1.14%

6.  Yahoo Answers — .98%

7.  Yahoo Profiles — .80%

8.  myYearbook — .62%

9.  Windows Live Home — .55%

10.  Meebo — .45%

11.  Mylife — .37%

12.  Classmates — .33%

13.  MocoSpace — .32%

14.  Linkedin — .28%

15.  Yahoo Groups — .25%

16.  Club Penguin — .24%

17.  BlackPlanet.com — .20%

18.  Yelp — .18%

19.  CaringBridge — .17%

20.  MySpaceTV — .15%

Obviously we’re talking just a point in time here and these stats could increase or decrease for any entities on this list of social networking sites.

But  I have to admit that I had been under the impression that Twitter and Linkedin maintained a much higher percentage of views vis-a-vis other social networking sites.

In fact, even though I was generally aware that Facebook was the most popular social networking site, I was fairly shocked to see Facebook enjoying 50 times the number of views as Twitter!

I mean, look at the front page of The Bloggers Bulletin — if you recall, we had our Twitter icon up long before our Facebook Icon!  I thought of  Twitter and Facebook as new, similarly-aged, “brother” tools that we, like many business people,  would employ for marketing and public out-reach, in addition to our blogs.

Now it seems that I need to ask a few more questions (the first two themselves questionable) about Twitter thanks to the above list and its stats:

  1. With Facebook so apparently dominant with social networking website users, should the average business person who blogs, and who  seeks to utilize social networking sites for marketing purposes, accord Facebook fifty times as much attention as Twitter!?
  2. Should our Facebook icon be fifty times the size of its Twitter icon?!
  3. Or should I be looking at Twitter — Britney Spear’s distracting popularity there notwithstanding — as a the communications channel for many deep-thinkers, critics and “influencers” — people who can impact my business positively or negatively in a manner far out of proportion to the 1.14% of social networking views they currently represent?

  8 comments for “A List of Social Networking Sites And The Questions It Made Me Ask About Twitter

  1. J
    March 10, 2010 at 8:01 am

    The FIRST thing I’d question is what those stats actually represent. Navigating back to the source, it didn’t really reveal what was going on.

    Now, I believe that Facebook would generally outperform Twitter, but to just assume it’s 50x based on these numbers? What if the data comes from unique Facebook URLs? Every time a person clicks through a 100 picture photo album that could mean 100 “hits” for Facebook, even though it’s just one person using one application. Meanwhile, that same person could use Twitter, generating maybe 5 hits as they go to their favourite Twitterers and follow links, which could deliver infinitely more value than seeing pictures from Joe-Bob’s vacation.

    Maybe it’s not the case, but you should always question flat out stats like that, especially when they report such staggering differences.

  2. March 10, 2010 at 9:49 am

    J, I am not going to suggest that I intentionally wrote this post to draw a comment or two. Well, maybe I did just a little.

    As written, the post practically demands that knowledgeable readers interject with their comments. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing for this blog.

    You raise valid questions, and they are ones I entertained myself before writing.

    Even so — and after examining the post information at face-value — I think most would still find the following a perfectly reasonable statement to make: “I was fairly shocked to see Facebook enjoying 50 times the number of views as Twitter.”

    When confining ourselves solely to the information displayed before us in the post, no assumptions are needed in order for us to make the aforementioned statement.

  3. J
    March 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Chris, I wasn’t trying to contend with the fact that the stats are shocking. Like you said, one would probably assume that Twitter and LinkedIn should have higher numbers.

    i.e. It is perfectly reasonable to be dazzled by the data. I guess my comment was more in response to the notion of asking those questions you put at the end of the blog, like wondering if one should appropriate 50 times more the effort into FB over T. Before I would ask myself THAT, I’d question the data in the first place.

    As you state, the first 2 questions are “questionable” (#2 being a little more on the humorous side than anything else). Question #3 is the most intriguing, but it still assumes that those numbers are “right.”

    My cynicism comes from a science background, where they teach you to always always always have a critical eye when dealing with the popular press and/or any “stats” that can’t be traced back to a well documented study or source. I don’t mean to suggest that such press is untrustworthy, but that the true meaning of the numbers or the manner in which the numbers were obtained is often omitted, despite being absolutely crucial to forming any sort of decision.

  4. March 10, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    J, yes, but if, again, we confine ourselves solely to the information displayed before us in the post — admittedly a bit unreasonable to ask of readers interested in widely-discussed topics such as blogging and social media — then the number listed in Question 3 demands no assumption on our part, and that’s even if we speculatively build upon it.

    And I did, in fact, incorporate what I’d term speculative concepts in to Question 3. If you’ll recall Question 3: “…deep thinkers, critics and influencers can, in fact, impact my business positively or negatively, and in a manner far out of proportion to 1.14%…?”

    How would I know any of the aforementioned apart from the percentage? Though the aforementioned involves concepts that seem plausible to me, those concepts are still entirely speculation on my part.

    And that’s a reason why I mentioned the aforementioned concept only as part of a yes/no question instead of as some kind of conclusion that would require a great deal of work to support. It gave my speculation a little “air,” without requiring any additional effort on my part (at least not until later in this comments section)

    But I wholeheartedly agree with your critical eye regarding “stats,” their meaning, and the manner in which they are obtained.

  5. March 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I wouldn’t take any action based on these numbers until it was clear what they represented. For example, are they counting Facebook games in the list of views? Because the whole point of FB games is to get people to click and view more pages, and a HUGE part of FB’s traffic is based on games.

    Also, are they taking into account all of the “views” of Twitter that come through applications, such as Tweetie on the iPhone or TweetDeck on the desktop?

    As a business person who markets on both Facebook and Twitter, I would want to know the answers to my questions above, before I made any decisions based on the numbers.

  6. March 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Without question Facebook is extremely popular and those attached to this medium seem to visit at least once or twice a day. The question for me, however, is what visibility to business pages and fan pages have to the common Facebook user? Facebook offers settings so that it is possible to “fan” a business page and never be aware of any activity on that page. At issue for businesses is… how do we get fans to interact with our Facebook pages?

  7. March 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Twitter users don’t go to the Twitter site, but use 3rd party apps. And, just what exactly counts as a page view on Facebook (there are so many reloads that one visit could count as 20 or more).

  8. SZ
    March 14, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Cutting to the chase, the data “per visit” on FB is unusable when making the decision to spend or not spend the marketing budget. The tool that would make the data valuable is some viable form of feedback and data from the customer, collected in a fashion that revealed spending habits and anticipated needs for goods and services. You can pump out all the data you want, but it has to be good useable data. Hits and reloads become distractions and decoys until a way is found to analyse the communication trail and what drove the end-user to take it. One may be better off looking for a pattern of what different forms of social media don’t have in common to profile who’s using it and how best to get their attention.

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