Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is socialising over?

Just had a gander at the latest stats in the Social Networking race (actually feels like it’s slowed to a walk recently…).

So, as at January 08 these are the facts here in Australia (thanks to NetView);
·My Space still dominates over Facebook on unique users but is now ahead by just 16%
·The Aussie MySpace audience hit 3m unique(s) in August 2007 and has hovered around that mark since then
·Facebook’s rapid growth has officially slowed, actually it’s pretty much stopped! The past two months have seen lower than +1% monthly increases, as at Jan stats are at 2.5m unique’s
·Bebo has crawled along between 500-700k since March 07, there’s growth but it’s not rapid and the Jan figures were down on December.

Bebo will tell you, however, it’s not all about unique visitors and with good reason. Exploring the numbers further there are some interesting but not too surprising findings. Bebo’s base is actually the most active with both the highest number of sessions per user and time spent per session. MySpace is next best on these measures with Facebook bringing up the rear.It would seem, the differing site appeal by generation is having an impact.

So who uses what? Bebo is very young; the audience strongly skews under 17’s. My Space is broader but performs best between 12 and 24 year olds. And usage of Facebook is currently peaking between 35-34 year olds. For my generation, it would seem Facebook is the winner, but the signs are there we could well be approaching Facebook fatigue….

Of course there is plenty more competition out there. In fact the real success badge may go to You Tube. With its video enriched content appeal, it seems to be the one to watch. You Tube has surpassed My Spaces traffic and continues to grow strongly. As at January, traffic is at 3.6m uniques. Of course the model is less sticky but its ‘hot’ factor is still high, and you could argue, in terms of engagement, that’s a pretty important element.
Note to self, nothing is 'cool' anymore, if its not hot, it's just not ;)

Socialising isn't over, not by a long way. But as time marches on we will see it take new and varied paths. I suspect peoples interest groups will rise to the top in terms of their 'social web usage' rather than sticking to whatever their mates are doing. Watch out next time you add a post to a forum, before you know it you'll have a whole new set of 'friends'.


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