29 February 2016 11:25:50 IST

The changing social map

While Facebook dominates the social media map, boundaries are fluid when it comes to the number two

Facebook’s domination of the world is near complete, according to a world map of social networks plotted by Italian blogger Vincenzo Cosenza using data from Alexa (an Amazon subsidiary that tracks web traffic) and SimilarWeb.


According to Cosenza’s map (above), Facebook is the leading social network in 129 out of 137 countries analysed — with Russia, China and Japan being the big notable exceptions.

The exceptions

While Russia does not have state controls on social media and Facebook has managed to penetrate through the openings in the iron curtains, Russians seem to prefer their own language networks — VKontakte (In Contact) and Odnoklassniki (Classmates).

The youth mostly hang out on VKontakte, while the over-45 crowd visits Odnoklassniki. Facebook actually comes fourth, behind Moi Mir (My World).

In Japan, strangely enough, it’s Twitter that tops the charts, with 35 million monthly active users, followed by Facebook at 25 million.

India conforms

India conforms to the world trend, with Facebook getting the most traffic. What is interesting is that according to analytics from social media trackers, Google+ has been gaining a lot of traction in the country of late, though this social network seems to be out of Cosenza’s study ambit — he admits it’s hard to track the search giant’s social offering, since it overlaps with Google’s domain traffic.

According to Global Web Index, the typical Internet user is now active on around 2.8 different social networks — and for a fairly decent percentage of online adults, Google+ is one of those networks.

The coveted second spot

Given that Facebook has taken over the first spot, with no competition, it’s more interesting to look at the second spot in the world’s social media map.

Instagram — a network that was nowhere in the picture when Cosenza plotted his map in 2014 — is today in second place in 41 countries. Twitter is in the second place in eight nations (a decline for the micro-blogging network), and in India, it is professional network LinkedIn that is in second place. In Canada, Reddit being is the second most followed network.

Interestingly, Instagram has been gaining over Twitter and LinkedIn. In 2014, Twitter was in second place in most countries, and LinkedIn at the third place.

It will be interesting to see what the map looks like in a couple of years. Given that the growth of the big social networks are now more or less plateauing out, with messaging services rapidly adding more and more users, things could look very different soon.

But then again, the sun will continue to shine on the Facebook empire, as its recently acquired messaging platform, Whatsapp, is still the leading chat app, though Line has gained immensely. However, Facebook Messenger, on which the Menlo Park giant is experimenting a lot, is showing strong growth.