The Next Web recently put together an interesting animation showing the most popular social media networks, ranked by number of users over time. There’s a lot to be learned here — as they point out it’s surprising how long LinkedIn has been around and how popular Friendster was at one point. You can watch various Google efforts climb in popularity and then fade away. Perhaps most interesting is to see the dominance of YouTube and Facebook. Once they hit the top of the listings, everyone else is fighting over their leftovers. If you ever need a visualization of how the digital environment consolidates on a small number of “winners”, then this will fit the bill. Also, there’s a really dramatic musical accompaniment to enjoy while you watch.


David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


6 Thoughts on "The Most Popular Social Media Networks Over Time"

Ah, yes the rise and fall of social media brands – somewhat similar to fashion trends, like tie width. Very interesting and a very good way to present the data.

Very cool way of presenting the data. It makes me wonder how science social network brand popularity has changed over time. I get the impression that started out as the frontrunner but has been overtaken by ResearchGate. I wonder where Mendeley is. ResearchGate seems has received the most discussion on ScholarlyKitchen (that renowned bellwether of popularity), but I wonder if that’s more because of its popularity and influence or its questionable practices that contribute to large scale posting of copyrighted materials, which gets the attention of SK chefs.

Calling some of these “social media networks” is really questionable — Reddit and WeiXin/WeChat in particular.

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