If you’re beginning to feel like you see much more of your friends online than in real life you’re probably right, according to the latest figures on the exponential growth of social-networking sites worldwide.
Although MySpace attracted a staggering 114 million visitors aged 15 and upwards in June of this year, representing a growth rate of 72pc in the past year alone, the cyberspace colossus is in fact one of the laggards.
When it comes to recruiting new members, Facebook is in the lead, with a growth rate of 270pc in the past year, and 52 million unique visitors in June of this year.
Some 62.5pc of Bebo’s visitors come from Europe alone, with the site experiencing population growth of 172pc in the past year, according to the research carried out by online analysts ComScore.
Eighteen million unique visitors paid a trip to the San Francisco-based portal in the month of June, with on average 4.8 million site visits daily, a 307pc increase in the past 12 months.
Although sites like Orkut, Hi5 and Friendster are doing well with a combined 76 million unique visitors for June 2007, most of their users come from outside the US and Europe.
Friendster depends on Asia Pacific for 88.7pc of its user base, while Orkut is the leading social-networking site in Latin America, drawing almost half its visitors from the region.
“Those doing well in certain regions are likely doing an effective job of communicating appropriately with those regions’ specific populations,” said Bob Ivins, executive vice-president of international markets for ComScore.
“As social networking continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see if networks are able to cross cultural barriers and bring together people from different corners of the globe in fulfilling the truest ideals of social networking.”
Although it is obvious from the survey that social-networking sites are strongly geographic, these digital portals are experiencing strong growth across the board regardless of their user base location.
“During the past year, social networking has really taken off globally,” said Ivins.
“Literally hundreds of millions of people around the world are visiting social-networking sites each month and many are doing so on a daily basis. It would appear that social networking is not a fad but rather an activity that is being woven into the very fabric of the global internet.”
By Marie Boran