The biggest gainers are LinkedIn, Buzznet and Facebook, according to Nielsen Online. The sites showing significant decreases are AOL Hometown, Club Penguin and Windows Live Spaces.
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals without a doubt. As businesses hold steady in the first and second quarters, they professionals often build their network and having a clean, refined and pleasant experience is probably why LinkedIn experienced a lot of growth. I make these anecdotal conclusions from my experience, and it’s nice to see LinkedIn holding coming in strong with +361% growth from last year. Their market is kind of recession-proof. That is, strong when people are employed or not. (Emphasis on employed, though.)
Content-rich social media driven community, Buzznet, also demonstrated strong gains at +104% as their users create influencial content around pop-culture, music and celebrities. I think their strength comes in because users who wish to give their two cents like Perez Hilton, weren’t totally empowered until Buzznet appeared on the scene.
Facebook also took in a strong sustainable gain at +56%. Facebook has often been associated with “utility,” but a majority of applications are geared towards “fun.” Well, despite what the pundits claim, Facebook is continuing to grow as a rate that may overtake MySpace at some point in the future. I’m not sure about you, I used to be addicted to Facebook, but it quickly wore off. I still do check my Facebook daily, even if I don’t interact on it.
All in all, Social Media is on the rise, especially globally. In a number of activities related to social media engagement, Universal McCann, reports in their Wave 3 survey social media interactions have grown sustainably for the past three years. Trendspotting has a great recap of the report, or you can read it yourself [Warning: 80 Page PDF].
Traditional Legacy social media related Web sites continue to tank downward. AOL Hometown (think: three-click Web sites), dropped 25% from a year ago. Despite this, AOL hasn’t changed the features of Hometown in quite some time, about ten years. Personally, I recommend they stave off the downward spiral by partnering (or acquiring) Weebly.
Disney’s social network, aimed toward children, Club Penguin, reflected a significant decline in traffic at 7%. I don’t know if kids really like penguins as the months warm up. I would suggest for them to diversify their social network would be offer a lineup of all the Disney characters — not just one — to attract a wider audience.
What I can extrapolate from the gains and the losses is users want to be able to quickly access their information, filter the noise of others and want manage their online experience without difficulty.
[Via Marketing Charts]