According to InternetWorldStats.com, there are currently 1.6 billion Internet users online around the world, compared to a world population of 7 billion. Of those users, 251 million reside in North America. Comscore estimates that two-thirds of global Internet users access social networking sites.
Trends indicate that online social networking is becoming the predominate form of online activity. Looking at the size of some of the most popular social networks offers an indication of the great potential for listening and learning, answering questions and solving problems, engaging potential stakeholders and advocates, and creating and cultivating valuable communities.
At the time of writing this book:
Registered Twitter users number between 25 and 30 million in late 2009 and early 2010.
Facebook worldwide users passed the 350 million mark in late 2009.
Although MySpace is undergoing a metamorphosis, it still maintains a user base of over 260 million.
Google's Orkut is hosting over 67,000,000 users.
Although no longer popular in the Western world, Friendster still houses 90 million people.
Classmates.com connects 50 million users.
Bebo connects 35 million users.
There are estimates that YouTube streams seven billion videos per month, and it is also now considered the number-two search engine, behind Google, for keyword searches.
Do-it-yourself community-building network Ning claims to host 1 million communities. (Although this number ...