Social Nets: ‘Reality TV for the Internet’

I was very amused by a press release statement from Jon Gibs, Neilsen//NetRatings senior director of media that "Social networking sites are the reality television of the Internet." He goes on to say that "The content is relatively inexpensive for publishers to produce and social networking is not a fad that will disappear. If anything it will become more ingrained in mainstream sites."

I'm not sure I totally agree with the analogy to reality TV, but it has some merit. I do agree that it's a phenomenon that's not going away, hence Google's embracing of it.

The definition of "social networking" is elusive and who's in the category and who's out might vary depending on how broadly you cast the net, so to speak. For example, Nielsen includes Blogger and other blogging platforms. I would not consider those to be "social networks" per se, though they do have community aspects that could grow more prominent over time.

Here are Nielsen's Top 10 Social Networking sites by traffic volume:

  1. MySpace
  2. Blogger
  3. Classmates Online
  4. YouTube
  5. MSN Groups
  6. AOL Hometown
  7. Yahoo! Groups
  8. MSN Spaces
  9. Six Apart TypePad

There's some additional data in the full press release, which you can download here.


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