OK, so we’re a PR agency in Manchester- a social media specialising tour de force. Obviously then, that means here on Mount Street we’re constantly monitoring the networks that have, until recently, been growing exponentially.
Of course it hasn’t been plain sailing for all parties involved. My Space is fast becoming a ghost town, and while the far superior Sound Cloud has taken up the journalistic and record industry mantle it’s clear we will never again see people adopt a platform designed specifically for music in order to keep in touch with their friends. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone who has ever sat in a room full of people with no CDs and very few MP3s, but a Spotify account keeping the laptop red hot.
Which is a shame, as it’s certainly a sign there is less of a community being built around what we listen to. However, look across the rest of the web 2.0 vista and the picture has been very different. Twitter continues to grow exponentially, a new member signs up to LinkedIn every second, and Facebook is predicted to reach 700million members in the very near future, although even if that doesn’t happen it would still be the world’s third most populous country if they raised a flag right now. That’s the kind of statistic that drops jaws, like Brooklyn being the fifth largest city in the US, except for the fact it’s actually part of New York.
Digressions to one side in short more and more people have been signing up, with the lure of status updates and 140 character messages spreading into almost every possible territory. Until recently, when signs started to emerge suggesting that the world’s number one network may have peaked in popularity. Worse still, this is happening in key areas. According to Inside Facebook, Mr Zuckerberg’s brainchild lost 6million US users in May 2011, along with a further 1.52million from the Canadian faithful, while in Russia, Britain, and Norway some 100,000 people moved out of the online neighbourhood.
In total month-on-month growth for the social network was at 11.8million in May this year. In 2010 it averaged out at 20million new users per month. It’s certainly too early to tell, and we’re never ones to jump ship at the first sign of fracture, but whichever way you look at things these numbers are significant, regardless of how many web browsers continue to use the service. Whether the fall continues or not remains to be seen, but one thing we can take from this is another lesson in realistically embracing new developments. Because, like dial up internet, the standard is, by default, always in a state of flux.