3 Ways the Ground is Shifting in Social Networks

3 Ways the Ground is Shifting in Social Networks

With Compete releasing January statistics on social network unique visits and total monthly visits for the United States, some very notable changes in national computing habits are forming:

compete.com_social_network_stats

We love our oligopolies

oligopoly_car_ribbonThis may emerge as the latest magnetic ribbon to put on the back of your car. Like almost every other US industry, we talk a good game about being open, or the groundswell, or the long tail, but when it runs into money, there’s two or three major competitors, and then everyone else. We saw it happen with the splitting of AT&T reforming over two decades to become an industry of three significant players. Then again in cable. And financial. And airlines. And music…. the list goes on.

Compete’s latest numbers as shared by Caroline McCarthy show more than anything that social networking is mature because it looks like an oligopoly. Facebook and MySpace have secured positions so far away from the competition, you can practically call them utilities.

Twitter is for real, for real

Jumping from a rank of 22 to 3 in terms of monthly visits isn’t a fluke. Twitter is building a dedicated, ubiquitous communications platform that is growing exponentially. It’s practically unprecedented. This isn’t shiny object syndrome: people from woodworkers to pastors are finding someone to connect with here: and it’s happening in complement to the major two, not at their expense.

What will be really interesting over the next 18 months is to see if Facebook super users start making the jump, since so much of rapid-fire comenting in Facebook (especially for the after-school set) is practically identical to the conversation flow in Twitter.

API integration is key

Numbers 3,4 & 5 on the list — Twitter, Flixster, and LinkedIn — all have a deep degree of connectivity to other social platforms. You can install the Twitter application on Facebook to bring your Tweets into the status update, sign up for a Flixster account using your MySpace ID, or use a range of applications within LinkedIn.If almost 130 million people are visiting MySpace and Facebook every month, it only makes sense.

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