Here’s a quick n’ dirty Who’s Who guide to social networking media sites. It’s interesting to note that these sites attract a mish-mash of the ‘real-time’ cool dudes and dudettes plus legions of socially inepts, who probably find it easier to fit in the online social scene than they do in real life. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if you’re a dog online as long as you have a half-decent picture and know how to type.
Also, the traditionally young online social scene is being flooded by the ‘young-at-heart’ and because of this expansion of demographics to include an older audience, these sites have gained popularity with marketers.
The Puritans – These are the top-dogs of the social networking media world.
Friendster: Founded in 2002, this is the original social networking site that was overtaken by MySpace as the top online social site. This site is a good example of how success is not necessarily being the first hasn’t been able to monetize its first-mover advantage to the extent that other members of this peer-group have.
According to Techblogy.com
Four out of five of Friendster’s top markets are in Southeast Asia: Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia rank, respectively, No. 1, 2 and 3. The United States is fourth, while Singapore is fifth. Upward of 45 percent of Friendster’s audience is in Asia now.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Friendster has sunk to become only the 35th most-visited Web community site, according to data from market research firm Hitwise.
In Asia, the service attracts a younger demographic, aged 18 to 30, while in the United States, the Friendster generation has grown up, and now typically ranges from 25 to 35 years old, according to Friendster marketing chief David Jones, who recently joined from eBay.
YouTube: If you haven’t heard of this social media phenomenon yet, you have been working way too hard. Recently acquired by Google, this is the Big Kahuna of online video sharing. Here’s what Mark Cuban has to say about YouTube and why he thinks YouTube is not a social network.
MySpace: This #1 online social networking site started with tweens but its reach has extended beyond that to attract an older demographic, and 60% of its users are now 25 and older, according to Hitwise.
The social networking site topped the list of favorite sites in Youth Trends’ most recent quarterly survey, and it is now the first choice of nearly 70% of females ages 17-25.
: Technically this is an alternate reality site rather than a pure social networking site, but with over 4million users, this site deserves a mention in any social media list.
Orkut: This is another online community, founded by a Googler. The difference between this and other social sites is that it allows users to build communities. Although, this community has been around since 2004, it doesn’t have the significant clout like some of its peers. It has also been bogged down by links to Brazilian mafia, who are rumored to be the main users of this social site in the country.
Linkedin: With over nine million members, and adding more than 100,000 users a week, this is the site of choice for professional networkers.
Second Life: Although this is technically an alternate reality site, not a pure social networking site, it’s still shares the same basic social purpose. With over 4million users and more joining each day, this site deserves a mention in any social media list.
The Hotties – Let’s take a look at some of the hot new things on the block.
Twitter: If you are interested in keeping track of what your friends are doing and/or sharing what you are doing – the moment you do it, Twitter.com is the site for you. It has become a raging social phenomenon like YouTube and deserves the top spot on this list.
Bebo: This site claims to be "the next-generation social networking site, where members can stay in touch with their College friends, connect with friends, share photos, discover new interests and just hang out."
Hi5: Positioned as a social networking site for young people around the globe, this site also serves as a platform for artists of all creed.
Meetup: This is an online social networking site for arranging real-time meetings of folks with similar interests, and lately has been fueling political organization for some presidential hopefuls.
Squidoo: Catalog of best-stuff found online, built by the online community.
iLike: This is a beta site, where users can discover new music and share it with their online community.
Rating Sites and User Generated Content Communities: How cool are you? Or your blog?
Hot or Not: This is a popular rating site, where users can rate people based on their physical appearance.
Reddit and Digg: These are two competing sites, which use the same concept – community members submit content and other members get to decide whether or not the content is any good. Online democracy at its best!