A few years ago, I put together a graphic illustrating the size of many of the top social media sites in comparison to one another. It’s about time I did a revision – so here is one for 2014 in case you happen to find it helpful.
Notes about the methodology:
- This version illustrates Monthly Active Users (MAU) instead of Total Users. Total users has become a meaningless number as the use of social media has continued to rise, as many more people have occasion to create multiple accounts (particularly spammers). Moreover, social media is no longer trying desperately to convince the mainstream world that it is important; it’s got that locked down. Now it’s trying to convince the mainstream world that it is relevant and useful (primarily to drive commerce).
- Several platforms (Flickr, Foursquare, Reddit, Tumblr, Vine, and WordPress) don’t readily publish statistics on their monthly active users. This is almost certainly because those numbers are lower than they would like them to be – so they try to cheat by using numbers like “views” or “posts published.” I thought it important to call out that they’re trying to buck the trend toward disclosure by noting them on the chart.
- Wikipedia is in the unfortunate position of being a vital centerpiece of digital life, but having comparatively fewer monthly active users because of the passion and knowledge required to be a Wikipedian. Participating in Wikipedia requires coding knowledge, as well as objectivity – to keep entries as objective as possible, people with a connection to topics are discouraged from contributing to those entries.