Hmmm. Let’s see. Facebook. Check. Twitter. Check. LinkedIn. Check. That’s about it for me, social media Website-wise. Guess I got that covered.
What? You say there’s more? Lots more? Boy, is there ever. Wikipedia lists 157 active social networking sites. My favorite in that bunch, which I’ve not been quite bold enough to approach, is Vampirefreaks. Wikipedia also lists a few defunct sites, but surprisingly only 10 so far. Among that group is something called Capazoo. What that was I guess I’ll never know. But Wikipedia is being conservative. Traffikd.com lists “over 400” active sites, nicely categorized from “Arts” to “Women.” And who knows how many have sprung up in the past few minutes. If there are that many suppliers out there, just think how many consumers there must be. According to Eskimosoup.com, there are almost 13 million Wikipedia articles, 100 million videos on YouTube, and 14 million users of Twitter. Facebook alone claims 300 million active users. If it were a country, it would be fourth largest in the world. According to Andy Lark, 96% of Generation Y (whatever that is) belong to a social network. Twelve percent of the couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media. And there are—ready for this?—said to be no fewer than 200 million blogs! Good grief. The numbers are staggering. What hath the Internet wrought?
One answer to that question is, Something like chaos. You’ve all seen those maps of social media sites. There’s one here and the Conversation Prism has one over here. Most of these maps attempt to bring order out of the chaos by categorizing and arranging the multitudinous sites in some kind of logical way. In fact, not surprisingly, a whole Internet cottage industry has grown up dedicated to making sense of all the social media stuff out there. In the book publishing niche occupied by SAS Press , there is specific help. The Spanish-language Website Soybits.com has a subway-style map of publishing-related Websites that I think is especially clever.
But as the sheer number of these things grows, graphic images can only handle so many elements. Sooner or later, the maps designed to clarify the chaos will start to look like a fractured windshield, with billions and billions of tiny points and fault lines. What then is the increasingly overwhelmed user to do? Find a few that you like and stick with them. If you like them, chances are others will like them too and those sites will bubble up to the top of the social media heap, while the defunct list grows. That’s why I’m sticking with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
And maybe, just for Halloween, that Vampirefreaks thing.