I got to wondering why we don’t use Flickr anymore, and it sent me into a social media dive. This is not all-inclusive. It’s just what was most noticeable. I’m sure I’ve missed things that a lot of people use.
The clear winner for blogging is Facebook, with 2.93b active accounts. It seems that the combination of free accounts, and heuristics to filter and add things on your wall beyond just “my friends by date”. Political and Social outrage seems to drive a lot of its activity. Fine-grained permissions are good here too.
LinkedIn has 830m users, with about 47% active in any given month. This is more about work networking, and less about general social interaction or blogging. There definitely is some of that.
WordPress (455m) won over most of the linear journaling sites, probably due to customizability, and the ability to run on your own server. There is a feed aggregator page for WP, but it’s more or less an online RSS aggregator.
Reddit (26m) is mostly about individual communities here, and not much in the way of individuals. There’s not really a personal wall of text, and there’s not fine-grained permissions like with the other sites. Pretty much everything is public or group access.
MeWe (20m) seems pretty sparse by comparison.
Livejournal (15.5m) didn’t really do media well, didn’t filter out low-interest friend posts, and didn’t add in high-interest non-friend posts. After it was bought by a Russian company, some of the originators started DreamWidth, with some good tools to import your LJ blog and friends. They only have around 50k active users.
BlogSpot/Blogger was just a linear feed. Aggregation was external with RSS readers. It still exists, but it’s hard to find stats on it.
MetaFilter (12k) is like a super-curated version of Reddit. It has a tight-knit niche population here.
Google Plus, Okta, Friendster, SixDegrees… they all died a long time ago.
### Video / Photo
YouTube (2.6b) is still the winner, even with their commercial push lately. Being the incumbent helps, but also they have a strong focus on educational material, and long-format videos. They harmed some small content creators, but have a lot of momentum yet. They also offer music, movies, and live TV streaming options.
Instagram (1b active) is mostly pictures, but has a strong “reel” presence too. Insta feeds off of emotional interest, such as celebrities, sex appeal, current events, etc. Their outrage focus avoids the top-tier battles more than FB, and you’ll see bad drivers, belligerent drunks, etc. Top Tier outrage happens, but the text format is not as conducive to memetic virus explosion. This is somewhat ephemeral, and it’s difficult to actually “share” photos for others to download.
TikTok is also about 1b active users, and does the same thing as Insta. No photos, and more focus on content creators, and less on celebrities and politics. Despite having short video clips, they compete well with YouTube.
Twitch (30m active) is streaming and stream recordings. In this space, they compete very well, but they do not have general videos, nor other media types. It has a large percentage of video game players, and thirst trap sex appeal.
Flickr is also mostly photo sharing, but has videos too. 500m new posts per month, 7.6m active users. It lets you share original size, and unlimited album sizes. Paid vs Free balance has changed over time.
Vimeo (5m) is more commercial than social, but deserves mention.
For music, outside of YouTube, the winner seems to be SoundCloud, with 76m users. Small bands, limited commercialization. Lots of experiemental, small reach, and new creative content. If this embedded better into shared posts of other social media sites, I think it would be even larger.
MySpace (7m), it surprises me it still exists. It used to be in the general blogging category, but has been music niche for a long while.
Some sites try to tell me BandCamp fits here, but BandCamp is 99.9% music sales. Spotify, Last, Pandora, etc all have scrobbling, but none of these really have a social network around bidirectional friend communication.
### Messaging / Chat:
WhatsApp has 2b active users. It’s mostly a replacement for SMS/MMS chat, and supports a large, international following. It supports end to end encryption, but is owned by Facebook. It has some minor amount of tracking involved.
Facebook Messenger has about 1.3b active users per month. This is very similar to WhatsApp, but has integration with Facebook userid instead of phone number.
Snapchat (332m active daily) is similar, but ephemeral, with photos and text evaporating pretty quickly.
Twitter (330m active daily) is kind of unique. It was an SMS integration, and kept small-message size limits. It does some embedded media integration pretty well. It does some following/grouping, and some “you might also like” heuristics which helps it stay relevant.
Discord(155m active monthly) fits in here, with private and group chats. Similar to IRC. it has chat rooms that people can join and leave at will.
Signal (40m) is an also end-to-end encrypted SMS alternative. It supports connecting your phone and PC to the same chats.
Slack (10m) is very similar to IRC also, but more for corporate/business use than personal.
IRC still exists, but is heavily splintered. Peak hours have about 228k connected users, which probably means about half a million daily or monthly users. Used more by Open Source projects in lieu of Slack, etc.
Plenty of other jabber/XMPP chats in various places that probably add up to large numbers of users.