What have I found from my research into Social Networking?

After strenuous research I looked into different areas of networking which, I thought were appropriate to come to a conclusion on my opinion of where I believe Social will end up in the coming years. Looking back over my 5 posts on Social Networking a number of things have become apparent. The posts I decided to research were titled; “Our ‘Social History’ mapping the future of online media”, “What has the journey for Social Communication been like”, “Social Media metrics; the problems beneath the surface”, “An insight into the workings of today’s networks” and “Starting a multi-million dollar network? Easy.”

The first post I researched, wrote and published was “Our Social history…” The reason for the post was to get a basic understanding of the networks out at present and a brief outline of how their history has affected where they are today in terms of users. It was interesting to see the first example of a Social Network life cycle, MySpace. What was difficult to determine though was whether the other networks would follow suit. MySpace was and is the only network which has a history of dominating the social platform and then dying off, whether Facebook, Twitter or any other large networks will do the same is unknown.

Second to be published on the blog was “Social Media metrics…” The reason behind this was to express the difficulties in viewing different metrics of Social Networks. I did this because, I felt the amount of data I had to research was astronomical and getting a background on the data I was gathering would have given me a better idea of what to and not to look for. I used a mini case study of Twitter evaluating two accounts individually and then going onto researching if there was a relationship between follower count and reputation in their similar areas of expertise, technology. It showed that social metrics at face value are not what they seem at all. This is very important when I am making a prediction as to where I believe the future of Social Networking is to be. I then went onto looking at different metrics you could derive from the accounts given which could give you a better idea of the nature of the Twitter account. I also did some of my own personal research using a study I conducted myself to see if there is actually a ‘critical number of tweets’ an account can have to exploit every one of there followers as much as possible in a positive way. This section of the post did not make it in the final cut. This was down to the fact that although the numbers involved all made sense and I got an answer out at the end, I felt it would be difficult for the average reader to get their head around. Not only that but it simply wasn’t worth the effort to attempt to understand in relation to the bigger picture of the post. Which was to understand problems in social metrics, which sometimes are provided by large companies to sometimes make themselves out to be more than they are.

Next to be uploaded was “… the journey of Social Communication…” In a way this post was similar to the first post uploaded because it is looking into the history of social interaction. It is much different though because this post is looking at the more general much broader history of the world I looked into when our society really started to become what it is today. Once evaluated back from 5000BC I then started to look at the same kind of thing specifically for Social Media. I found that the first ‘beta’ version let’s say, of a network was named sixdegrees.com. The question I’d like to ask myself is a question without an answer. Would Social Media be where it is today had sixdegrees.com not created something everybody else would follow on from? The network was a flop, but the image it left was something nobody had seen before and then set it as their challenge to improve upon to give you what we have today.

Saying goodbye to the past, the penultimate post on the blog was “An insight into the workings of today’s networks”. The aim of going into detail of present networks and where they stand in terms of growth at the moment was to see what users of today’s networks want and what they do with their time on social platforms. It was also interesting to see that certain networks have a huge number of inactive users. Whether this is due to multiple accounts or down to people getting bored of the network I don’t know. But in terms of Facebook I highly doubt that it is on the downfall. I’d predict it has more to do with the age of the company that the older a company is the higher the proportion of inactive accounts become.

The final post, which was released, was based on the difficulty of creating a new Social Network. Of all the posts I saw this one as the most significant to answer my question about the future of online Social Networking. This is down to having the opportunity to analyze why networks have succeeded and failed. I wanted to get an idea of how easy it is for a network to simply fall through. It could be something nobody saw coming like in the scenario of MySpace where they had a barrage of sexual assault convictions which just destroyed their reputation. Facebook had a large part in taking over their hierarchy as well though. It is strongly the case of right place and the right time. There is no saying that if Facebook had started its network 1 year earlier or later it would be where it is today. The right things for Facebook peaked when the wrong things for MySpace also peaked.

Myspace infographic

I was trying to pin down what all successful networks had in common but it was practically impossible. A lot of them did have niches of their own but even then why did that niche work, why not one of the other hundreds and thousands of networks being produced at the same time? The chances are at least one of them had an idea ten times better and a hundred times more valuable on paper. Definitely puts it in perspective that if you are in the right place at the right time you could have literally hit the jackpot. Ask any first CEO of these large Social Networks if they had clearly expected this much success, unless they are incredibly arrogant the answer would most definitely be no.

Overall my findings show some rather interesting things. I believe people are going off the idea to be on a broad array of networks like they seemed to be a few years back. There is evidence to suggest now that they are saturating a small number of networks dramatically. It may just be the case that we are getting bored of all these new networks. Other than Facebook there is no evidence of any of the big networks out at the moment beginning to plateau, but soon it will not be physically possible to continue growing the way they are right now, they will get to a point where they are so big everybody has an account so their growth will significantly slow down. We’ve had relationships with every type of networks but we now want to settle down with ‘the one’ (or more probably, three or four) so to speak. Over the next few years I doubt highly we will see the same number of Social Networks succeed that have been cropping up everywhere in the past decade or so, especially those targeted at specific companies it seems. The odd network will come in and surprise everybody with its success, but with the attitude of the public at the moment the chances are it will just replace an existing network, which is there already by outdoing it in a number of areas.

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Starting a multi-billion dollar Social Network? Easy.

Over 570 new websites are written, designed, coded and published every minute. What does it take to get noticed? What must be done to create a website or Social Network that is that much better than the 820,000 new Websites uploaded to the Internet every day?


 Why is it that some networks have become so successful? Let’s analyse some of the most popular ones individually.

Obviously we have to start with the king of all networks, Facebook. For a Social Network to be successful it most likely has to have a niche. Now, Facebook had the advantage that at the time it’s only other competitor was MySpace, this resulted in (the) Facebook not taking Facebooklong in finding it’s niche. Something, which would attract a user to the network, it found it in the form of an email address. harvard.edu. This limited the user to only gaining access to the network if they owned an email address of this nature. Exclusivity is what got the ball rolling for Facebook, they eventually expanded to other Ivy-League Colleges and then to the British Russell-Groups until their following was so large it was safe to expand to the general public.

Foursquare’s niche was to take an application, which uses the basis of search and discovery of your friends. It uses GPS tracking signals to locate your friends and advise you Foursquarewhen you are close to each other. It is a genius idea to bring people closer together. It now also uses an algorithm based off what you like, search frequently or where you go frequently to determine where you would like to go in the future. These recommendations are then sent through your phone to you in the form of a notification.

Instagram is a very visual Social Network consisting only of photos or videos. With the closest to a verbal post being found only in he comments of a photo or video. Released in late 2010 Instagram is now a Social Network within a Social Network. It was initially in idea known as ‘Send me some sunshine”, it was an application that would mean people Instagramcould send photos of the sun or anything cheery over to the other side of the world where it is less bright and cheerful. What the creators observed was that people were not taking photos of the sun or anything cheery, they were taking mundane photos of anything ordinary in everyday life. The Instagram team then spotted the gap in the market between Hipstamatic (an application that gives you the option to take photos and put filters on them) and Facebook. Hence the birth of the Social and modern photographer’s network.

Although a lot of the start-ups for Social Networks are literally based off being in the right place at the right time. Pinterest’s CEO Ben Silbermann went the extra mile to try and get the network off the floor and get going. He designed the network and made the website Pinterestlive on an invitation only basis. Once he had his first 5000 users active online he sent each one of them a message offering his personal mobile number, inviting them to a meeting to discuss the improvements of the website. Invitations got sent out and the number of users grew continuously and more rapidly every day.

Tumblr has been around since early 2007, as of March 1st 2015 Tumblr held around 225.1 million blogs. The creation of Tumblr was another case of finding a gap in the market and Tumblrexploiting it. The co-founders of Tumblr were interested in a ‘tumblelogging’ platform where a blog wasn’t something individual, but part of a platform where there are as many blogs as the eye can see which, you decipher through finding the ones suited to you. After the first week they acquired 75,000 users.


It’s quite obvious that the vast majority of start-up Social Networks will be a flop, but the interesting cases are the ones, which were very successful and way beyond the threshold of not having enough users to become a viral network. Some cases to be evaluated are as follows.

What came from the Social Network which was a part of the ‘stupidest sales of the dotcom Beboera’? It once was a thriving network; to the extent that AOL paid $850,000,000 for the company. To the ordinary eye there was nothing strictly wrong with Bebo, according to some sources 11 the network had between 7 and 40 million users. Where it went wrong was when it was sold to a corporate giant. It seems to be common knowledge now (after the failure of Friends reunited and MySpace, see below, failed for the same reasons) that a corporate giant taking over networks or any small once qwerky start-ups, restricts creativity. Sending the Social Network into a downfall.

After evaluating MySpace compared to Facebook in a previous post I won’t dwell on this too much. Facebook threw MySpace to the floor online metaphorically. This is because Myspacepractically everything MySpace had, Facebook had better. Facebook was a lot more user friendly, you had to know basic coding knowledge to alter your profile on MySpace! The little things MySpace even got outdone by, having no equivalent like (Facebook) or retweet (twitter) button, these were little but large things to the average user. Advertisements. The bain of any networking site. Facebook does have some now, but nowhere near to the miserable extent of MySpace. Point after point stacked up against MySpace ad it just got driven into the ground over time.

Ping, surprisingly to many was a creation from Apple via iTunes7. At the time of Release PingApple had 160 million active iTunes users, this did not result in the same number of active users on Ping13, instead 2 million subscribed and soon turned their noses up. Ping didn’t have a niche or selling point; it was a Social Network for music. You could share music on Facebook and Twitter so no luck there. It was not accessible which is just bad design; it was lost in the interface of iTunes so difficult to reach. They went too independent. There was no interaction with other networks so was a stand-alone profile which was just quite useless unless all you cared about was your favourite artist.

Friendster along with MySpace were in the competitive era against Facebook. Friendster was on a level playing field with Facebook until Facebook added the news-feed. Once FriendsterFacebook added the news-feed it sent Friendster along with MySpace into a downhill spiral. Friendster just had a problem with timing. What they did was sometimes the right thing to do but was way too late in relation to their competitors, therefore their users just moved network until it was deserted.


Having looked at the successes and the failures of past and present Social Networks, certain conclusions have become apparent. A key point, which is obvious to the eye without analysis, is good business management. Whether that’s Pinterest’s approach by treating your new users extremely well and get as much feedback as possible to keep them happy. Or Facebook’s freedom approach where they had a similar technique to Google in a way, where employees are given ‘free reign’ (within reason) to increase productivity.

Another point that has to be made is just simple start-up necessities; finding the companies niche or the gap in the market to infiltrate, some examples are as follows; Facebook- A social communication network with accessibility (at the time there was lack of), Foursquare- Using location sensors to improve every day bit by bit through different techniques and Instagram- A social platform where users interact with each other through an interesting photo filter application.

The chances are that this point in time the idea you just thought of for a network, has been thought of, designed, published and fallen through. Unless you are some creative genius it seems that if you are going to create a new network, it is going to have to be based off a successful network already. From this you are not only going to have to out-do them in a number of ways, like Facebook did with MySpace. But also, somehow find a marketing ploy to attempt to transfer all of these users to your new network. Not easy. I’d stick to investment to find your millions.

References:

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An insight into the workings of todays networks


Present Variation


In this graph I have gathered data from an external source, which shows, the active present percentage change in usage of the population over one year, (orange) and the active percentage of Internet users that use a specific Network, (Blue).

After analysis I’d like to view the Orange areas of the graph as the potential future of Social Media and the blue as the present. Due to the orange representing the growth of the network, it would make logical sense that the blue will follow suit in the direction of the orange over a given time-period.

This theory, although true for social networks with (relative to other Network’s) low blue bars, you can’t forget that there will be a point at which the Social Network will peak. Facebook is getting to the point where if you have any remote interest in Social Networking you have an account, hence the low orange bar. To put it into perspective over 40% of every person who uses the Internet has an account and is active (see graph below) in using the network, this accounts for 62% of Facebook’s registered users so the percentage of people that use the Internet is even higher. Facebook having a low orange bar is not to say Facebook has no future, it is just saying not as many people are registering for accounts as other networks. So as the growth of blue slows down the size of the orange bar decreases.

Obviously if the Orange bar is on the negative side of the graph the growth of the network is declining and the Social Network is dying. In the case of Mixi (Japanese Social Network) and Copains (French Social Network), which have both been driven through the ground by Facebook, the networks have since diminished.

What can also be established from the graph is that the number of people using other networks is decreasing rapidly as well. This is not good news for any up and coming social networks as people are developing the attitude that they have a significant number of networks and feel comfortable where they are. This might mean they are not willing to open their mind to anything new.

It is clear to see that Tumblr and Pinterest are dominating network growth. These are going to be the networks to watch in the coming years. Are we getting more visual? Tumblr and Pinterest are predominantly videography or photography based networks. Maybe if more networks are going to be released and successful in the coming years, these are the aspects the networks may entail.


Active or Inactive?


I decided to analyse these statistics because it is a good indicator of which Social Networks people may be getting bored of. The reason I say this is because, when a network first goes live, everybody registers for an account; everybody is active. As time goes on the activity level will drop but it is an important factor Social Networks need to keep an eye on. This is due to the way people act on the whole with social media, the common analogy of dominos is useful; if one person stops using a network, their friend sees no point, then there friendship group dies off the network and so on. Until before you know it most of your users have packed up and left.

What is surprising to me is that with the considerable monopoly Facebook had for such a long period of time, how many users are inactive at this point. I would have believed, from personal experience and from reading statistics on the network, that more people would still be active. People having more than one account will play a large factor in this, but considering the other social networks relative success in active users could this be the first piece of evidence of Facebook’s demise?


Reference: Statistics extracted from www.jeffbullas.com

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What has the journey for Social Communication been like?

The simple idea of social interaction has been around since simple messages using smoke and drums thousands of years ago going onto the invention of writing back in 5000BC and then communication using this through Pigeon post in the 5th Century. From this point forward we, as humans, have made continuous progress on an exponential scale to get to where we are today. To put a little perspective into this; it took 3000 years for the human race to go from ‘creating writing’, (I put inverted commas as this writing, was not anything we’d imagine from the term today), to making sense of the creation and adding in what we now call the alphabet making it much more accessible to different cultures and for communication.

In terms of data, globally we;

Send more than 144.8 billion E-mails daily
Upload more than 340 million Tweets daily
Share more than 640,000 bits of content on Facebook alone daily
Upload more than 72 hours worth of Video on YouTube every minute
Spend more than $272,000 online daily
Search over 2 million queries on Google every minute
Share photos on Flickr 3,125 times per minute
Download 47,000 apps on Apple’s app-store every minute
Like Brand’s Facebook’s content 34,000 times per minute
Publish 27,000 new posts on Tumblr every minute
Share 3.600 new photos every minute on Instagram
Share our location 2000 times a minute on Foursquare (worrying)
Launch 571 new websites a minute
Add 217 new people to the world of Mobile devices every minute
Publish close to 350 new blog posts every minute on WordPress


Without considering the extremities of where we will be in the future, let’s take a look at our history and see how we got to this point.

Social History Exponential Graph

This exponential curve shows the dramatic increase in events that have occurred in history which have a significant impact on our future. As you can see the second the 1400’s are breached the speed in which civilisation matures and grows is awesome. The spikes in the graph represent years where there was more than one significant event occurred which would affect the future of civilisation.

This graph shows the growth of Social History of Media rather than the History of Social Media Growth. There is a big difference in that the first represents anything that has influenced the world in the media. Whereas the latter is directly linked to how Social Networking has grown independently. To start analysing this you’d have to go to the beginning of Social Networking; the 1997 social network sixdegrees.com

Sixdegrees.com started the trend of enabling users to create their own profile and connect to friends; at its height the site had over 3.5 million users. In 1999 the company was sold for $125 million and soon died in 2003, one of many failed Social Networks that had hopeful and optimistic futures. Other sites began to spring up in this time period as well, for example; asianavenue.com, blackplanet.com and migente.com. Unlike sixdegrees all three of these sites are still active today. In 2002 Social Networking began to get into it’s stride, Friendster was born, with a similar concept to sixdegrees but with better planning and presentation it was renowned as a dating site that wasn’t about dating. Moving onto 2003 LinkedIn was born, the site took off almost immediately as it had the niche that the website was restricted for professionals only, most definitely a success story as the company still holds an impressive 297 million members. Joining LinkedIn in 2003 was MySpace. I have done a previous post on the impressiveness of MySpace’s timeline from that era but relative to Friendster MySpace was the clear winner, it boasted everything Friendster had and much more. Now it is still floating around the Internet, it is just much smaller and targeted at musicians. Then in 2004 came Facebook, the king of all networks, it has dwarfed any other network in recent years with over 1.5 Billion users. Since then Social Networking sites have been springing up left-right and centre with the likes of: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Google+ and many more successful and not so successful networks have been / are still around to use.

After decades, centuries and millenniums we have been evolving, it is difficult to believe how lucky we are to be a part of the generation we are today. On a relative scale of the history of time it was such a minute time ago when we were signalling to other areas through smoke and since written language did not even exist, to get where we are today and the vast majority of all this success has happened within the last few hundred years, so count yourself lucky you don’t still live in a wooden house.

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Social Media metrics; the problems beneath the surface.

To begin, explaining the predicament I see within Social Metrics is difficult. I believe the best platform to start with would be Twitter, not because Twitter is the most used Network or most relatable. But because the numbers are so easily available, my point becomes more relatable. It can get a little more complicated when you start to mess around with your own metrics to present the data given in a more understandable fashion. Social networking metrics are some of the most deceiving statistics on a ‘personal’ scale and on an ‘industrial’ scale. What I mean by personal are things like: Number of followers, number of Tweets, average number of tweets per day etc. Industrial relating to Networks as a whole, using figures from: Number of users on a network; active, fake, duplicates or the ‘reach’ a company perceives to have with it’s customers.


“Just because you can measure everything doesn’t mean that you should” – W. Edwards Deming


Tim Cook

When I say Statistics are deceiving I mean people misunderstand what the numbers within networking represent, in the sense that the numbers are not exactly as they seem to be. Take Tim Cook, CEO of Apple for example; he is regarded as the number one person wanted at a conference to discuss technology. He has 745k followers, yet as of the beginning of October 2014 he hadn’t tweeted more than 100 times. This is just a simple example of how, although (without a shadow of doubt) Tim Cook knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Technology, on Twitter he is nowhere near as influential he can ‘potentially’ be to his followers. This being said he may have inspired the world with each and every one of the one hundred tweets sent out. But in the grand scheme of things, we can make the judgement call that his account is more inactive rather than a man of few yet incredible words.

Matt MullenwegThen on the other hand look at someone like Matt Mulenweg, Founder of WordPress. A little less mainstream by Tim Cook’s standards, reflected by his follower count being less than ten percent of Cook’s. But what isn’t as clear as a High Follower count and a low Tweeting count is the inverse. If you overlook the fact that somebodies ‘Tweet:Follower’ count is high; 6:1 in this case, you can highly underestimate how much of an asset the profile could be. Obviously this isn’t always the case; an 18-year-old girl could be in the same situation, so it takes some light research into the tweets to get the full picture. But generally speaking when you find yourself looking at CEOs of huge companies the more valuable account is going to be the one where their area of expertise is most discussed.


“Social media is one area of business where you don’t have to outspend your competitors in order to beat them” – Hal Stokes


100 Tech Speakers

Although this graphic looks relatively complicated, it’s not difficult to get your head around. I have designed it so that you can get an idea for the relationship between the number of followers between a group of people who are globally renowned for there distinct knowledge of their area (in this case technology), and where they lie on the scale of how much they are desired to talk at large conferences. If there was a perfect relationship in the way we’d expect, we’d see a line of best fit passing from the bottom left of the graph to the top right. This would show the more followers a person has; the more influential they are. If you look at the top 50 or so you can faintly see the weak positive relationship where this line would be. But the correlation is very weak and with examples like: Jeff Weiner, Peter Thiel and Mark Andreesen showing the exact opposite that we’d expect at that end of the spectrum. There is very little evidence to conclude positively that there is a relationship.

Where would we go from here to fix the identified problem?

In terms of Twitter, I believe the best place to start is not to overlook the ‘bog standard’ statistics, but use them in a fashion that is going to benefit the analysis of the account showing the characteristics of it’s specifics. From here I think we need to categorise the different elements of what we would like to break down the account into;

Reach

This would look into the account by who is actually influenced and affected by the content. So the variables that are going to be used are the ones that reflect a strong interest towards the tweets or account. Being followed isn’t enough, what does it take to get noticed?

Follower interest:

No matter how active an account is or how many followers they have, when analysing the bare statistics you aren’t considering how many of those tweets actually get noticed. To find this we would need a variable which would take all of this into consideration; how many [tweets + favourites + replies] you get per tweet. This will give you a value of the amount of attention per tweet.

Follower Value:

This ties in with the next point of Influential Potential. How much is a follower worth on Twitter? This could be an entire post in itself, going into business economics about how you can exchange your followers for revenue. In the sense of reach though, it’s a question of how to increase the proportion of the highly valued followers. By highly valued I mean those that have an effect on the growth of your network.

Influential Potential

In an ideal world how successful can this account actually be? How many people can this person inspire if they were to be suited to each follower they had perfectly. All we want to know from this is the maximum possible influence an account can have so to understand it’s limits. The values I think would be most suited to finding this evaluation would be;

  • Follower count, (obviously)
  • Number of inactive accounts per thousand: Around 1,000,000,000 accounts and approximately 284,000,000 active monthly users, this can be a big issue in any data gathering scenario. Therefore there are approximately 716 inactive users per thousand. (Source- expandedramblings.com)
  • Line of work the subject is in has a huge influence. If the person is a frequent face in the media who’s opinion is valued and respected, they are clearly going to have a bigger audience that takes notice. Whereas somebody just as famous, but less opinionated would be a totally different scenario. Mixing two completely different subjects together and analysing them both is a huge ‘no-no’.

To summarise, this post was intended to give a brief insight into not only how difficult it is to obtain accurate statistics for Social Networks in general. But also to express that when viewing statistics to do with Networks, or any other area for that matter, to never take them at face value. It is so easy to mislead people without strictly lying.

Big Data Context

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Concerning the future

Since this website has been active I have been experimenting with different areas I’d like to concentrate on when it comes to analysis.

The field in which has excited me most and that I feel can be developed further is Social Networking.  The reason being, in my opinion this is something which, by the majority of the population,  statistically is misjudged. This gave me an interest to go further,  looking into Social networking; the mystery behind the numbers. Whether they’re, the number of accounts, tweets/posts per day or the reach that a business has with their customers through Social.

Ever since I wrote the post about “Our Social history”,

https://lewiswaite.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/our-social-history-mapping-the-future-of-online-media/—

it has become a keen interest of mine to look into Social Media further. It was the only post I wrote which I felt could be extended on dramatically due to common misinterpretation of the variables used. For example, the graphs use ‘Number of users (millions)’. Using this was a little hypocritical as I believe this to be one commonly used variable which is impractical in a number of senses. It is down to the amount of: Inactive accounts, duplicate accounts and fake accounts that make it close to unusable. But the problem with this is that it is extremely difficult to create a tool or programme which can filter out these idle accounts.

Over the next year it will be issues like this which I will be raising and attempting to come up with some form of solution to in a number of small posts. Hopefully there will be a post once per fortnight looking at different areas into Networking each time. All posts relating to how we can go about predicting where we will be a few decades down the line. I will be using methods of Data Visualisation using Tableau and Data Mining gathering information from where I can.

Hope to be seeing you soon.

Lewis Jacques Waite.

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Our ‘Social History’ mapping the future of online media.

Can MySpace’s track record ever be outdone?


I have always admired the quote “Live in the moment, forget the past and don’t concern yourself with the future”. It seems to just be one of those quotes you could probably live your day-to-day life by following quite happily. It’s also though, surprisingly similar to a New Years Resolution that you tell people about to build yourself up to it, just to find that the resolution was completely irrational and you soon have no idea why you even attempted it.

If people really did lead their lives by this quote word for word as fully as possible; the world, it’s Economy (what’s left of it) and any sort of progression would soon become discontinued and we would just grind to a halt. This is all down to the bare-boned fact that you have to understand the past in a high level of detail to move forward in most aspects of life. It’s the simple case of understanding the past to progress into the future.

Social Media plays such a huge part in our every day life in the world we live in today. If you can predict where Social Media and Social Networks are heading, supposedly you can predict a hell of a lot of where society may end up in 5, 10 or 20 or so years. Not only can you go forward and make accusations about how successful Facebook may be in the next five years, which looking into the graphs the data is illustrating, is nowhere different to where the growth it’s still undertaking is representing, but you can also make predictions about the opinions of Society, where it is heading and how to prepare for such change. This may be in the form of the world becoming more publicly open for anybody to view or maybe something to do with the global community becoming much more visual bring in more networks similar to Snapchat or Instagram.



I have taken arguably the 8 most influential, used and upcoming Social Networks and input the data recorded from a number of sources. What is clear to begin with is the undeniable  fact that Facebook has almost always been the dominant Social Network, with the exception of MySpace at one point which we will get onto later.

What you initially notice is the rate of growth of each of the networks comparable to each other. It is fairly easy to spot and derive the history of the network just due to the growth and time taken for it to get to where it is today. Take Facebook for example; One of the many Social Network that started from nothing (a College dorm-room to be precise) and built its way up to the admirable success it is today, and you can see this as it began increasing at a low but gradual rate until it became much more available to anyone over 13 in 2006 which is when the website totally kicked off.

The generic pattern you’d expect to see in a Social Network is displayed by MySpace, (The blue line hitting its peak around 2007), where it is displayed as almost a Bell-Curve. This is when the Network has fully taken off, had its time of popularity hitting its peak and holding it for a few years and then gradually decreasing to a relatively small number. We aren’t even beginning to see Facebook’s decrease in rate of growth yet. Considering it took MySpace 4 Years to hit its rate of growth 0 and Facebook has been around for 9 years and is still rapidly increasing at an almost exponential rate, even if something went horribly wrong for Facebook and hit its 0 rate of growth next year, relative to MySpace it would only start its decrease in user numbers by late in the year 2016. But judging by the rate it’s still going at, and its ever-increasing global scale it should not stop increasing for another solid 5/6 years minimum in my opinion.



Just to bring Facebook back down to earth, something that isn’t directly taken into account is the total number of people engrossed in Social Media over the years. Just including the 11 networks I researched for this post, (3 I didn’t include in the graphs due to either a cluttered effect or insignificance), in 2013 a total of 3,849,150,000 people had a Social network account. (This is restricting the fact that the majority of the population have more than 1 social account.) This has an enormous significance when talking numbers over the years for the networking world, especially when 10 years ago we had a total of 2.2 Million, spread onto a main basis of 2 networks.

So to observe the data given, it’s better to look through the eyes of a ‘Stacked area graph’ to see the distribution of each network through the years. Using the area I included all researched elements, due to the fact the area graph can still be observed and understood in this context to show distribution. This reveals some pretty interesting facts. (y-axis measured cumulatively year-by-year)


 


What people seem to forget at this point is how big an influence MySpace did once actually have over the rest of the networks, given that the number of them were limited. The reason this Market Share of users is so difficult to achieve nowadays is because of the imminently evolving internet which is clearly represented by the general curvature of this entire graph. To put this in a little perspective for you, in 2007 MySpace owned around 58% of the total user numbers on networking sites, whereas last year Facebook was reaching around 45%, even though 2013-Facebook had over 12 times the user numbers than 2007-Myspace. This percentage not even including the more globally diverse and country specific social networks like: RenRen, Qzone (China), Vkontakte (Russia), Orkut (Brazil).

Understanding this and realising new networks are always springing up everywhere, a lot of which supposedly gaining the potential to be ‘the next big thing’ as the cliché goes. For as long as the general curvature of the graph continues at a confident exponential rate the predictability that any form of social network will be any where near as dominant as MySpace once was is ‘as slim as spotting a whale in the dessert’. Even if your name is Google and you have a PR crew being able to squeeze out every tiny inch of success out of a Social Network which would have gone nowhere anytime soon without the name itself. As you can see in the first graph, it’s gradient has even begun decreasing after 3 years. I cannot see Google+ progressing anywhere in the near future unless the site develops a niche before the entire site becomes unsalvageable and tarnished.


Data Gathered:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 20.17.55

Credits/Sources

http://www.statisticbrain.com/twitter-statistics/
http://ourstory.linkedin.com/
http://webtrends.about.com/od/Social-Media-Evolution/a/Is-Myspace-Dead.htm
http://www.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/NewMedia/SocialMedia/SocialMediaHistory.html
http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/01/09/social-network-stats-facebook-myspace-reunion-jan-2008/
http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2010/01/19/a-collection-of-social-network-stats-for-2010/
http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/myspace-stats-then-now/#.UqNomJQkIb4
http://www.businessinsider.com/186-of-all-iphone-users-use-snapchat–and-its-gaining-ground-on-twitter-2013-7
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2013/10/28/pew-study-suggests-snapchat-has-26-million-u-s-users/
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-plus-future/
http://www.webtackle.com/portal/BLOG/DesertCodeCamp/tabid/153/Default.aspx
http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/04/25/path-a-social-diary-app-is-adding-1-million-new-users-a-week/
http://news.yahoo.com/milestones-statistics-linkedin-facebook-myspace-20110323-155500-663.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ricardogeromel/2011/09/14/facebook-surpasses-orkut-owned-by-google-in-numbers-of-users-in-brazil/
http://mashable.com/2012/04/16/foursquare-20-million/
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