One of the most interesting findings of comScore‘s 2011 social networking report was the surge in sites designed around users’ interests, not necessarily real-life social circles. The web measurement firm’s December numbers, which came after the report, more than confirm the trend. And I’m not just talking about Twitter and Google+, both of which had strong months.
The blogging platform gained nearly three million new unique visitors, growing 18% from 15.9 million to 18.8 million uniques. Meanwhile, the online pin-it site boomed by nearly 55%, from 4.85 million to 7.51 million uniques.
The larger shift here that comScore is talking about is this: users are gravitating towards new ways of sharing the things they care about with anyone who shares the same interests as them. They’re still sharing private things like showing baby photos or party pics to real friends on Facebook. They’re just also falling in love with the new simple, public tools that these other companies offer.
Myspace has provided all sorts of public sharing feature for years, but in a clunkier and spammier interface. A few recent redesigns — not dissimilar from some of these interest rivals — has for whatever reason failed to stop it from losing users. For its current owners, the growth of these rivals is both salt in the wounds and a hint of hope.
Tumblr is a re-envisioning of tumblelogging, a subset of blogging that uses quick, mixed-media posts. The service hopes to do for the tumblelog what services like LiveJournal and Blogger did for the blog. The difference is that its extreme simplicity will make luring users a far easier task than acquiring users for traditional weblogging. Anytime a user sees something interesting online, they can click a quick “Share on Tumblr” bookmarklet that then tumbles the snippet directly. The result is...
Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing “virtual pinboard” interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting. The site has experienced rapid growth in recent months.