Social media has become such a part of most of our lives that life without it seems a distant memory. It’s tough to imagine that Facebook has only been around since 2004 – that’s just 9 years ago. Interestingly, LinkedIn is slightly older, launched in 2003, making it just 10 years old. Twitter is slightly younger at only 7 years old, launching in 2006. Pinterest is a relative baby at 3 years old, and Google+ is younger still, at only 2 years of age.
Facebook is certainly the largest, and more active, social network available today with 1.19 billion active users. What may come as a shock to some is that Google+, the youngest of the bunch, comes in second by active user count with 540 million. Twitter, considered by many to be Facebook’s runner up, has only 232 million active users, just behind LinkedIn with 259 million active users.
What Active User Means
There are several different ways active user can be defined. Some active user stats come from daily active users, and some from monthly. More often than not stats, like those above, are referencing monthly active users. This means that a person has taken some action with the social network in question within a given month.
The action can be as little as clicking a like button, which doesn’t even have to take place on the actual social site. This means that we’re not talking about 1.19 billion people checking their Facebook pages every day, not even every month. What we’re talking about here are the number of people who interact in some way with a social network on a monthly basis.
Another Way to View Social Media
Another very interesting way to view social media is to look at social widgets. These are the interactive buttons you see on websites, and are part of what make up the active user stats we’ve been reviewing. The perspective here is to look at the number of top websites that use these social widgets.
A recent Moz article takes a look at the top 1,000,000 websites, and which social widgets they use. Here we see Facebook in the lead with 260,816, and the Google Plus One button coming in second with 164,531 sites using this button.
Social Media Perceptions
A final perspective is what people perceive to be the most active social networks. Watch ESPN for any length of time, and you’ll see mentions of Facebook and Twitter fairly frequently. This kind of perception based evidence tell us that people, the man on the street, don’t really perceive Google+ as being in the number two position.
Not only is Google+ in the number two position, it’s actually almost doubling Twitter in active users. We believe that perceptions take time to change, and that appears to be the case with social media. For example, Google+ has recently seen mentions by network TV shows such as Chopped on Food Network. Ted Allen says: +1 if you’re watching an all-new Chopped at 10|9c! Also Toyota recently began using new Hangout on Air features on Google+ to sell cars.