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by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

Facebook Dragging Anchor?
Facebook hit 500 million users recently (Google Ad Planner puts them at 550 million as of June) and Twitter is hovering near 100 million. When you consider that Facebook doubled the number of users in about a year it seems like the growth of the giant will not stop, but something interesting has happened in the past three months. The growth in visitors (measured via cookies) has slowed; however, Facebook has gained 60 million users in the second quarter, so no one can reach a conclusion, yet.

Yes, everyone was going to quit Facebook on May 31, 2010, and that didn’t happen, but there may be a new temperamental wind blowing in the world of Social Media. It’s possible that Facebook’s bad press over privacy issues has had an impact on new users and/or it’s possible that Facebook has reached a point of saturation. Regardless, Facebook has hit a speed bump, which leads everyone to wonder if it is a temporary blip, or has the bubble burst?

Facebook Visitors 2Q 2010 (not users)

Twitter Whale of a Fail
Twitter has also seen a slight decrease in visitors over the last two months; however, Twitter gained 16 million users in the second quarter and it should easily exceed the 100 million user mark in the third quarter. Twitter may be experiencing fallout from the backlash at Facebook, but it is more likely that Twitters persistent ‘Fail Whale’ capacity issues are preventing the service from scoring big gains with new users. For several weeks in June, Twitter users experienced constant interruptions in service that were a major annoyance causing many to exacerbate the problem by Tweeting their complaints. The issues were similar to the days when AOL dial-up service lacked the capacity to handle the volume of users…and remind us of the risk an organization takes in failing to anticipate rapid growth.

Twitter Visitors 2Q 2010

From a position of potential demand by business-oriented users, Twitter is in the best position to grow into the Facebook of the business world, but it has to overcome the confusion by older users of the usefulness of the service; however, there is a ‘Tipping Point’ that once achieved could push Twitter into mega growth and a potential of becoming larger than Facebook in total users.

Twitter up-time seems to be getting better in the past two weeks, but continued reliability problems could have a significant impact on user happiness and that opens the door for another service to step up and prove that they offer more than twitchy connections.

LinkedIn Visitors 2Q 2010

LinkedIn Becalmed
The surprise in the 2nd Quarter was the loss of users for LinkedIn. Dropping from 41 million down to 38 million for the business networking website may indicate that it is in a market that is too narrow. LinkedIn encourages long discussions of business issues, and the formation of related groups, but the downside is that few care to read 257 posts of people’s opinions where the knowledgeable people are mixed in with the clueless. LinkedIn also discourages connecting to another user unless you already have a relationship with them, which means you’re talking to the same people you already know. Twitter’s advantage is a more rapid discussion that spins off to other blogs rather than an on-line list of opinions. Twitter also connects people in a way that allows the user to edit their followers, rather than depending on an existing relationship. This could be the signal of a trend and LinkedIn may come out on the short end of Darwin’s evolution theory.

MySpace Visitors 2Q 2010

MySpace: The Titanic of Social Media
MySpace is proof that failure is an option in the world of Social Media. Of course, they are a failure with 66 million followers at the end of the 2nd Quarter, but they had 80 million users at the end of the 1st Quarter. At this pace they will under 10 million users by next summer. MySpace is the Wicked Witch of the West and she is sitting under Niagara Falls …. ‘I’m meltinggggg.’

It is possible that by the end of the 3rd Quarter the field of Social Media tools could be clearly down to Facebook and Twitter. MySpace would need a massive public relations campaign and cool new tricks to stop its decline. It is the BP of the Social Media and it doesn’t have the finances to pull up before it noses into the corn field. LinkedIn is sitting on a house of cards. Being a ‘Business Networking’ service is not enough to keep it viable. If it drops under 30 million users by the end of 3rd Quarter I predict that it will be a race between LinkedIn and MySpace to be the first to dissolve in 2011. MySpace’s loss will be Facebook’s gain and LinkedIn’s loss will be Twitter’s gain. I still believe Twitter has more potential than Facebook, but they will have to overcome the misconceptions by older users of its purpose and value.

We wait for the 3rd Quarter…what will people do?

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