Some facts to take into account before designing widgets for linking your application into social networking sites – particularly if you’re working internationally. This is one area where Europe is not unified at all:
Social Networking Sites are popular all over the world.
• In 90 (79%) countries a major social networking site features in the top 10 sites of that country.
• In 19 of these countries, the social networking site is the highest ranking site in the country – ranking higher than any search engine.
• From a sample of 116 countries only 2 (Taiwan and Vietnam) didn’t include a popular social networking site in the list of the top 100 websites.
The popularity of social networking sites is no surprise but there are few reports on the use of these sites by geographic region.This site contains interactive Java visualisations showing the relative popularity of sites by country
Using Google search data to identify where 12 of the top social networks are the most popular? The social networks we included in this survey were MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut, Last.fm, LiveJournal, Xanga, Bebo, Imeem and Twitter.Something to be aware of when looking at localising social network enabled applications – eg use Bebo if you want the Irish on board.
First point: the inconsistency and variability of the figures means that you may have to be considering reaching the top two or three SNS applications in each country.
Second point: as dana boyd showed a while ago, different SNS sites will be used by different communities within a country. In the UK, Blogroll is the biggie amongst political bloggers. Not sure who uses WordPress…
On a related theme, web users also behave differently in different countries:
Companies often approach Social Computing as a list of technologies to be deployed as needed — a blog here, a podcast there — to achieve a marketing goal. But a more coherent approach is to start with your target audience and determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, based on what they are ready for. This sites gives a profile of expected customer behaviour by age, gender and countryNo point hoping that Europeans will behave like South Koreans, or even Americans.