Using Google’s Insights for Search, Pingdom has “looked at 12 of the top social networks to answer a simple, but highly interesting question: Where are they the most popular?”. In their post, Social network popularity around the world, they surveyed MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut, Last.fm, LiveJournal, Xanga, Bebo, Imeem and Twitter. Their technique was simple: search for MySpace and use the “regional interest” estimates. Here are some observations they made:
- Facebook is most popular in Turkey and Canada.
- Friendster and Imeem are most popular in the Philippines.
- LinkedIn is most popular in India.
- Twitter is most popular in Japan.
- LiveJournal is more popular in Russia than it is in the United States.
- Orkut is more popular in Iran (10th country popularity-wise) than it is in the United States.
- MySpace is the only social network which is most popular in the United States.
- MySpace, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Xanga, and Twitter are the only social networks in this survey which have the United States in their top five countries, popularity-wise. That is just five out of twelve.
The technique is simple and somewhat crude, but probably accurate enough for a first order approximation. It also provides data that compliments the data that these systems provide on the geographic distribution of their users.