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



About Lewis Waite

This Blog is part of a project I am currently working on to essentially, analyse the Social Networks of today. And by the end predict where we might find ourself in the future.
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