How people use social networks – a global study

The market research agency InSites Consulting has posted a terrific report about the global use of social networks. InSites surveyed 2,884 internet users in 14 countries and the report is a gold mine of interesting statistics. I have chosen to post two of the slides that I think are especially noteworthy.

The first is a slide that shows professional vs personal use of different social networks. It is a clear difference in use of sites like Xing and LinkedIn on the one hand, and Facebook and MySpace on the other.


It seems that internet users have more trust in professional social networks than in ones used for personal purposes, with the exception of the Dutch site, in which users also have a lot of trust. That might possibly be due to the fact that it is a local social network, but that is a guess on my part.


Here is the entire presentation and I encourage you to check it out.

Ace of Base relaunch with fans as fourth member

mia rose and ulf ekberg of ace of base

British-Portuguese artist Mia Rose became an instant hit on YouTube after uploading videos of herself singing. The twenty-year old singer quickly grew a large dedicated fan base that loved her songs on YouTube, which has now been viewed many million times. Her channel on YouTube has more than 150,000 subscribers. Her popularity got her a record deal with a major record label, which she now has left for an independent label in order to be more in control over her career.

mia rose at sime

Mia performed one of her songs today at SIME in Stockholm and attended a panel together with Stefan Glaenzer, founder of and Ulf Ekberg of Ace of Base. according to Glaenzer “is the last destination you need in your life”.

Swedish pop combo Ace of Base might be the next succesful example of the future of the music business. Ulf Ekberg showed how the band is preparing for a comeback after more than a decade in retirement. This morning the band launched a widget on its website that lets users remix and change the band’s songs. People can share the widget with their friends on Facebook, MySpace, Piczo, Bebo, Blogger, hi5 and other social network. There is a sequencer where users can create their own remixes of both old and new Ace of Base songs, buy new loops and materials to add to the remixes. The band will also use the best remixes and put them up on the site. By engaging fans to make their own versions, Ace of Base creates a number of new revenue streams.

The former four man band now has three members, but as Ulf Ekberg stated:
– The fourth member of Ace of Base is now the consumer.

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Facebook not quite dead yet

Swedish media recently proclaimed that Facebook’s days of glory were over (although that particular article misinterpreted some facts from an article in the Guardian). Now it seems that those assumptions might have been a bit premature. TechCrunch writes that Facebook has caught up with the leading social networking site MySpace in terms of unique monthly worldwide visitors, according to data by Comscore. Both sites now have about 115 million visitors each per month.

In February, Adam Erlandsson at Svenska Dagbladet, wrote: “who knows, in six months me might be looking back at the beginning of 2008 as the start of the death of Facebook. But at the moment there are absolutely no proof that that is the case.” Well put. And four months later the signs point in the opposite direction.

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Is Fredrik Reinfeldt anti-Facebook?

Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister, held a speech on February 26, 2008 to students at the The London School of Economics and Political Science. The theme was “The New Swedish Model: A Reform Agenda for Growth and the Environment”. When I read through the speech I was somewhat baffled by the following comment in the introduction:

“It is a pleasure to be here at LSE. Anybody who wants to study globalisation should start at this institution. I believe you have the highest proportion of international students in the world.

And you are smart.

I am told that you borrow four times as many books as the average UK student. Obviously you do not spend too much time on


So, books=smart and social networks=not as smart? Books are obviously important in education, that’s a no-brainer, but social networks aren’t necessarily just a distraction. They are great tools if you want to build a network of contacts, participate in a community and explore new technologies, business models and ideas. In a networked world you have to be connected.

If Sweden is going to stay competetive in an increasingly integrated world economy we need to participate where new ideas emerge. I believe that Sweden is a net exporter of both music and film and I can see no reason why we should not be able to have the same position in the social media space.

In Reinfeldt’s own words: “Sweden must therefore be a country that better accommodates those who dare to take risks, develop their ideas and spread their wings to become self-employed.”

Some of the smartest people I know are participating in this new arena, and of course, I think they’ve read a few books too. Besides, remember that Facebook initially was restricted to students of Harvard and soon expanded to all Ivy League schools including MIT and Boston University.

Maybe I am excessively positive, but I’ll take that chance. Social networks can of course be huge productivity thiefs, but it’s more complicated than that. Instead of assuming that social networks are just a form of procrastination, we should encourage Swedes to participate in this new landscape so that we will become the most networked people on the planet. If we do that, I am sure many great new companies will emerge.

Footnote: The LSE network at Facebook has 19,698 members. I haven’t found the total number of students (or alumni) at the school, but it sure sounds a lot to me.

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Lunarstorm lost half of its visitors in one year reported in November last year that the Swedish online community Lunarstorm suffered from the success of Facebook, MySpace and other social networks. In November, the number of unique visitors to Lunarstorm had dropped by a massive 42%, down to 617,000 weekly visitors.

And the drop continues. Now we can see that the traffic has dropped by 50% compared to the same week last year. A year ago Lunarstorm had 989,733 weekly visitors (unique web browsers) and last week the number was down to 490,289 which is just above a 50% decline.

According to Ekonominyheterna, visits to Lunarstorm peaked in March 2006 with 1.6 million visitors.

Footnote: Stats from KIA-index.

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Visits to Facebook fell in Europe – February may be even worse

According to data released yesterday by Nielsen Online, the number of unique visitors in the UK visiting Facebook fell in January. The tremendous growth of the social networking site has come to a halt, and the question is whether this is a temporary hiccup or a sign that the glory days are over.

Nielsen Online says that 8.5 million unique users in Britain spent time on Facebook in January, down from 8.9 million in December. MySpace and Bebo are also seeing declining stats.

Alex Burmaster at Nielsen Online says:
– MySpace peaked in April 2007, with 6.8 million unique users, while Bebo peaked in July with 4.6 million.

The number of unique users also fell slightly in other European countries, but Facebook is still growing in the U.S. However, the numbers for February do not look promising. Not that I trust data from Alexa to be 100% accurate, but a graph of the daily pageviews of Facebook show a dramatic drop during the first days of February, a drop that is in the 20-25% range which is very high. It will be very interesting to study Nielsen’s data for February. [Alexa graph here]

UPDATE: Facebook sees decline in the U.S. as well. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 33.9 million unique visitors in January, 2008, down 2 percent from 34.7 million in December, 2007.

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