Say hello to the new kings of social media

New metrics show further growth of Facebook and Twitter, alongside hope for Myspace Music

Technology trends and news by Ronny Kerr
July 17, 2009
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New York City-based industry analyzer and tracker Nielsen released a report this week confirming with hard numbers from this past June what many have seen as exciting developments in the social media sphere.

The biggest news (which is starting to sound less like news and more like the status quo) is the tremendous growth rate of the micro-blogging service Twitter. The site saw a 1928% increase over the past year, according to Nielsen, from 1 million unique visitors in June 2008 to 21 million unique visitors in June 2009.

Though we will have to wait to see if internal executive memos projecting 350 million users at the end of 2011 is just a fantasy (right now, even Facebook only has 87.3 million unique users), the truth is that Twitter is, in 2009, a force to be reckoned with.

Despite Twitter’s wildfire-like growth, Facebook undeniably retains its title as the number one social networking website today. In June, users spent an average of 4 hours and 33 minutes on the site, a 240% increase over the year, says Nielsen’s report. And while Twitter saw a much more phenomenal growth rate—522%—from around five minutes to around 30 minutes, people are still staying on Facebook eight times as long as that.

Facebook vs Twitter

Before Facebook came along, Myspace was the place for social networking. The Web site, which seems to be consistently under scrutiny these days over its lack of direction (even CEO Owen Van Natta admits it), expanded into enough other realms of Internet entertainment that it has not fallen the quick death of other social networking sites made obsolete in the past.

Myspace Music, a whole division of the site dedicated to artist and band profile pages, has seen unique visitors grow from 4.2 million to 12.1 million, a 190% growth since the site’s launch in September 2008, according to Nielsen.

So, what’s to come? If Myspace plays their cards right, they may just have found their niche on the Internet. As for the other two, their blatant similarities cannot be ignored for much longer. Twitter and Facebook will likely heighten the competition in the next year.

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