Top 10 Social Networks of 2012

We’re 25 days shy of the New Year and top 10 lists are emerging across the digital landscape, evaluating everything and anything of significance. Notably ignored, thus far, have been the social media networks, which are responsible for the majority of popular digital content. Reviewing the social space reveals the following ranking of top ten social media networks of 2012 for their innovation and impact in today’s society.

Here we go, the Top 10 Social Networks of 2012:

1. Instagram– a free photo-sharing app and social network for mobile, with share options to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr, received a billion dollar buy out from Facebook this year . It got everyone talking about the already cult classic, capture and share which integrated social connect from the get-go. There are over 30 million registered users who have uploaded over 1 billion photos. Instagram sees 575 Likes and 81 Comments per second. Towards the end of 2012, Instagram launched profiles on web, making the social network’s content accessible to individuals who prefer desktop navigation. Or, those who haven’t made the switch to iPhone or Android.

2. Twitter, defines itself as “a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting”.  In 2012, Twitter has been busy improving its ability to administrate advertisements to it’s 140 million users who see 340 million tweets per day, by rolling out a variety of advertising solutions such as Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts for Small Businesses. Additional updates to their interface included an updated dashboard and cover photo, which align to users’ expectation for evolution in their social networks.

3. Facebook went public in 2012, negotiating a share price of $38 a piece, valuing the company at $104 billion, the largest valuation to date for a newly listed public company. Thus proving to the world the financial power of social networks. The launch of the timeline for Brands and updated user interface showcased just how important the network is to brands as a communication platform (as emphasized by their fortune 500 brand partners during the initial beta of timeline for brand pages). At over one billion active users, Facebook remains a premiere network.

4. Pinterest, a pinboard-style photo sharing social network, allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies. Pinterest saw the integration of brand profiles this year, which added value for all 11.7 million unique users. Additionally, Pinterest gave users an app for both Android and iPad and ‘secret boards’ allowing users to create private collections of images.  According to comScore, Pinterest is the fastest site in history to break through the 10 million unique visitor mark. As well, a  study by online sharing tool Shareaholic found that Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Twitter, making Pinterest’s ability to impact consumers a very powerful one.

* Data based on analytics from 200,000 publishers, which reach approximately 270 million unique visitors a month.

5. Tumblr, a microblogging service, most known for housing visual content such as GIFS and memes, is one of the top social networking sites of 2012 for it’s sheer volume. Tumblr has impressive stats like being home to over 83.3 million blogs, 37.2 billion blog posts, and over 18 billion monthly pageviews (globally).  The average Tumblr user spends upwards of 30 min on the site each day, making this social network a powerful tool for connection and engagement.

6. LinkedIn has cornered the niche market for professionals. It caters to users who look to the social network a professional hub with more than 187 million members in over 200 countries.  In Canada there are over 6 million members as of August 30, 2012. More than 2.6 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages, cementing the business oriented social network  in B2B and B2C communications. LinkedIn has ensured share functionality by encouraging more than 1.3 million unique publishers to use the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content to the LinkedIn platform. More than one million LinkedIn Groups connect professionals, in nineteen languages: English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish, across the globe. LinkedIn acquired Rapportive, which created a browser plug-in that takes contact information from social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and places them into Google’s Gmail, and SlideShare, a powerful presentation and research tool for professionals that earns 29 million monthly visitors.

7. Reddit is a  social news website that displays news, in either text or link format, based on your personal preferences and what the community likes, in threads called Subreddits. Account preferences are determined based on your history of voting stories up or down. Additionally, users are able to connect via Karma points, which are received as a reward for submitting interesting content. Reddit boasts monthly stats of over 46 million unique visitors and 3 billion page views. There are over 100,000 Subreddits of content and conversations. On August 29, 2012, Reddit held it’s first Presidential AMA (Ask Me Anything) with US-President Barack Obama, which brought down many parts of the website due to traffic.

8. Rdio is a music streaming social network, founded by one of the creators of Skype, which can be accessed via desktop, mobile, or tablet. It connects people with music via song, artist, album, or similar tastes. One of the coolest things is that your Rdio music, when alled to your collection, is accessible offline. The network is truly social as it records and shares what you listen to in real time to both Twitter and Facebook  (if you allow it via settings).  Rdio incorporates social elements for all of their artists by connecting to their Artist Pages on Facebook. Available in over a dozen countries, Rdio provides on-demand access to over 18 million songs, distinguishing it from its competitors.

9. Foursquare is a location-based social network for mobile. It has social integration  for their 20 million users, who have checked in over 2 billion times.  In 2012, Foursquare updated their API in response to privacy concerns, evolved their user interface (UI), launched local messaging for merchants, and added a search-focused homepage. What distinguishes this social-local search engine is that the results are comprised strictly by earned media such as check-ins, tips, photos, lists and likes, meaning businesses can’t buy a ranking in the search results with paid media, they can only earn it.

10. Google+,  describes itself as a “social layer”. They created a lot of change in 2012 by enforcing their link between Social and Search. Google+ scaled their base to 400 million total users, and 100 million active monthly users. They optimized your owned platforms with vanity URLs, and enabled consumer segmentation for Brand Pages, to push bespoke grouped messaging. They offered bespoke network search and review systems with Google+ Local with Zagat for small businesses, which introduced a new marketing tool for businesses and gave consumers more convenient ways to discover services.

We’d love to know YOUR fav social network? Sound off in the comments. While you’re on the internet, make sure you follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


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