Facebook is not the only game in town

With the news confirmed that Facebook membership now exceeds 500 million people worldwide – that’s nearly 10 percent of the world’s total population – it’s a worthy reminder to note that, never mind its size or seeming monolithic ubiquity, there are other social networking places to complement Facebook.

The BBC has produced an attractive visual display on the rise and fall of social networks using metrics from market researcher Nielsen in June as its source.

top5socialnetworks

As the chart here on the top five social networks by country shows, Facebook dominates in six of the seven countries the BBC highlights – USA, Australia, Germany, UK, Spain and Italy. The difference in Brazil, where Orkut is the leader with Facebook a distant second.

Yet even as Facebook is king, and not even well liked in some countries, look at the other social networks. In Germany, for instance, 8.5 million people are members of VZNet Netzwerke which includes StudiVZ, the big network for young people. In Spain, 6.6 million are with Tuenti. Brazil, too, where 5.9 million are in iG Comunidades. And let’s not forget MySpace (which recently underwent a facelift) – it’s in second place in the USA, UK, Australia and Italy and third in Spain.

My point is simply a reminder that, from a business perspective in particular – notably, if you’re planning any kind of outreach or engagement activity in these countries – recognize that the dominant social network isn’t necessarily the only place where your engagees spend their time and exercise their influence – sizeable niche communities are elsewhere too.

See the full graphic display at the BBC website.

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