Hey Everyone, This is a report about the state of social networks in 2017. There are a lot of rumors flying around about different social networks. It seems from these rumors, for instance, that Twitter is dying. If we look at the hard numbers however, we can get a glimpse as to what is really happening. It's often said and observed in all of human societies that the "rich get richer, and the poor get poorer". If we look at user count as a currency, and the ability to influence, we can see that the "socially rich" keep getting more users, and this means that other networks will be getting less attention. This post serves as a simple study of this effect and how the cards lay after this fine first month of 2017, and how things have changed on the social media landscape in the past couple of years. A Primer for this study is the Google page index count. It is impossible to contact every one of these networks and get real numbers on their user counts, so we will work with what we can see. We will only be looking at social networks which are some how generalized in nature. We won't be looking at tube sites, dating sites, or music sites. Keep in mind, Some companies do not index all of their user pages, and some companies have more than one page indexed per user... on all of these sites, Google never indexes every single page, so the number of indexed pages is a loose predictor at best. An example: there might be more indexed videos on YouTube than company pages indexed from Facebook. The Rich Old money; The billionaire club: Sitting pretty, heavy security, and heavy user flow. Selling user data like no other. These sites often enjoy a balanced global audience. Facebook - 2.25 Billion indexed pages. They serve as the standard maximum user count, so in this study, fb is 100% of potential. At this maximum, they have plunged billions of dollars into anti-spam and anti-automation security. They have made a business like a fortress. This is not to say automation cannot be done, just that it's hard and you must adhere to specific methods in order to succeed. Youtube - 1.72 Billion indexed pages. 76.4% fb potential. Google's number one video hosting/sharing service which they acquired almost a decade ago. They keep going strong and people keep uploading videos. They have gone the extra mile in almost everything, from ease of use and uploading, to anti-spam security. They were one of the first social network sites to use Google's unnamed service for checking message Twitter - 1.15 Billion indexed pages. This puts them at 51% potential. Many people say that Twitter is dying, but it seems that they will not be going the way of MySpace for years to come. I've also read that they bought out Periscope. As long as they keep playing the "acquire and conquer" game (ala Facebook/MS/Google), they will stay user rich, but their user engagement rate is still on the low side. The Upper-Middle Class The new money, grinders and innovators. Their public and niches are well defined, but they definitely don't have the type of stopping power that Facebook does when it comes to anti-automation and the like. Most of them employ human moderators and admins or use the "citizens arrest" technique via "Report abuse" links. They haven't quite gotten to the point where they have their own in-house advertising for their users, nor started using AI as a way to moderate and secure their users. Flickr - 95.3 Million. 4.23% of FB potential. This Yahoo-owned site has positioned itself as the top of photo sharing sites, being one of the first social networks to include a slide show gimmick for their user galleries. Reddit - 69.8 Million. 3.10% of FB index potential. This site focuses more on being like a forum than like a social network, but that doesn't mean they aren't social. Reddit has been at the heart of quite a few scandals and rumors, which is in part what rates them as upper-middle class. It's their unique blend of site interface which keeps the people coming back and interacting more. LinkedIn - 54.2 Million. 2.40% of FB potential. This site is based on business, but they are the leading business social network out there. Their next highest competitor is Xing which only has about a fifth of the indexed pages that LinkedIn does. Instagram - 50.4 Million. 2.24% of Facebook potential. Most of the middle class sites/social media apps like Instagram boast much more and deeper user engagement than the user rich like FB and twitter. Though the gap is great, quality, novelty and ease of access count for a lot. Instagram makes it easy for people to instantly edit and share photos from their smartphones. Tumblr - 46.3 Million Pinterest - 35.1 Million. 1.56% of potential. These guys used a gimmick and it got them to the middle. Call a post a "pin", and call a gallery a "board" and you've got your gimmick. Considering they are a run of the mill site hiding behind a sleek design, they have done quite well. The Lower-Middle Class These are working class sites. They do what they can to get to upper middle class or even shoot for being rich, but they've still got a long way to go to get there. New trendy sites usually topple these in user base quickly. Google Plus - 30.5 Million. 1.35% of fb potential. The ever-widening gap which separates G+ from the top is double when you look at user engagement. Google has basically had to force their social media down the throats of other Google service users (via YouTube, etc.) FourSquare - 16.6 Million. I can't say much about them besides that they are on the rise. Vimeo - 13.9 Million. This alternative to YouTube has gone through their hard times, but in the end, they are still campaigning and actually do provide a simple alternative to Google's product. People use Vimeo over Youtube for roughly the same reason that they used Twitter over Facebook years ago. MySpace - 13.5 Million. YES, MySpace still exists. I'm not sure how their user retention is since they've been bought out by everyone from Time Warner to Justin Timberlake. Each time they were bought, they changed their look completely. It's not so much that it's dead, it just took a major backseat. It's kind of like that uncle you never see, but you know is still alive somewhere. Since the last revision, they still have a "follow" type feature. They dabbled in "circles", and other gimmicks. To tell the truth, I haven't been on there for awhile Vine - 8.0 Million. There have been rumors about them that they are now shut down, and it seems they are in their dying throes. Looking at the site, there are no "vines" posted from 2017. It seems they are going the way of Digg: Twitter fodder. The Poor Still worth hitting up. Usually outdated, out-niched, and with no moderators or admins. They usually have one foot out the door as far as profit flows, but they still have those die-hard users who are just too set in their ways to use anything else. Hi5 - 6.29 Million. This site is like Tagged, in fact, owned by the same company. You will actually find that there is no longer really any difference between the two sites besides the fact that their communities are different. They are still in the Poor list because this site started out as something, was bought and sold, and then turned into to something else, a couple of times. It's never been a mover and a shaker. Maybe in it's startup years it was something back just before MySpace "died". StumbleUpon - 4.76 Million. This network started out with a great gimmick for bookmarking web pages and sharing your favorites with the rest of the community. they even had an algorithm which at the time was cutting edge, and allowed people to just press one button and get to a new site they probably liked. They used to have more users, and I'm guessing most of that 4.76 million are accounts which haven't been touched in awhile. BlackPlanet - 1.66 Million. This site is focused on african americans, and even had Obama join back when he was running for President the first time. It was bought out a couple of times, but it still has those die-hard users who use it because it's what they're used to. Tagged - 1.54 Million. Tagged has been around since before all of the biggies. They were popular when MySpace was popular and having over a million users was a big deal. Their site still works now as mostly a Match service which gives you the added gimmick of their strange pet system. Yes, people still play pets. The Derelict / Defunct The last leg. Vultures are already circling and the users are slim pickings. Most of the pages google has indexed are dead or haven't been touched in over a year. Their admins or moderators are nowhere to be seen, leaving their scant real user base subject to all sorts of nonsense. Fubar - 1.93 Million. This used to be a burgeoning site with lots of active users whereas now it's more of a niche site that's on it's death bed. The only way they still make money is the ads they have posted everywhere. UrbanCliq - 69,000 (sixty-nine thousand). Abandoned. They haven't changed their look for over 5 years. Why are they even on here? Because despite the fact that they have such a minuscule user base, you can still get traffic from them. Their admins / moderators are non-existent. They still make money off of bombarding their users with ads though, so you can be sure their user base is used to spam. This site has been shown to generate clicks for Adult CPA. I'm sure there are other verticals their users will also click on. It's not a lot of traffic, but if you have a good payout for your CPA offer, it can make you a couple of extra bucks per day. Every little bit counts right? Conclusion In essence, just like in any human society, the gap widens because of a couple of simple rules that each class follows. The job of the rich is to keep the middle class from becoming rich. The upper-middle class works on trying to "get rich", while the lower-middle works on trying not to become poor and hopes to become upper-middle. The poor, as always, only work on surviving the day to day realities the society creates. This metaphor applies perfectly for social networks as citizens of a digital society, following the same natural human rules of perceived success. Remember that the number of indexed pages is a rough idea of user count, and that the user count does not necessarily translate into user retention. Half of the accounts on a site could be abandoned for over a year. If a social network has only 50 million users, but only 100,000 active users, that's a bad sign for the health of the network. A growing network would have at least 10% of it's user base active at any given moment. You might be wondering, "how does this information help me?" The answer is, in choosing a strategy. Often times when looking at social networking on a new project, you want to be able to gauge how difficult a site would be to do marketing on. Those sites in the middle range are usually the best, but the under 10 million club can also generate sales. Even those sites listed as derelict, they are actually still good sources of traffic, given the right type of offer and targeting. I've seen a social network created as a joke with the proper niche and the user base grew daily. The users even began begging the developer to add new features and update the site. To me, this serves as a lesson, that a site with the right niche and the right set up will continue to have an active user base as long as the server bills are paid. I personally believe that this result is due to mainly to niche nostalgia: some quirky branding (ie: having a catchy name/logo), and a solid core idea in service to a niche. Note In reality, there are more factors which can help you decide which sites and which methods to choose for marketing. Not only should you use the Google page index, but the perceived overall user engagement, the number of actions available on a social network and their niche reach. To read more on methods / strategies for marketing on these social networks you can visit the Verified forum and check out my threads there.