Social networking's big numbers

We all know that social networking is big. But how big is “really big”? We delve into the numbers to try and make some sense out of the hype.


When it comes to big, Facebook pretty much owns the crown. By its own reckoning Facebook has “more than 500 million users.” At the start of 2010 there were a “mere” 350 million or so users of the popular friends network and Facebook actually passed the half-billion mark around June 2010. At the time of writing, Socialbakers, which specialises in Facebook statistics, put current Facebook membership at 667 million. Socialbakers estimate that there are around 3.7 million Facebook users in South Africa.

Interestingly, Facebook says that around 50% of users log into Facebook on a daily basis, which means that around 330 million users access the site every day.


Twitter is growing rapidly but is still some way off Facebook. An e-mail from Twitter to users earlier this year said that there were “about 200 million accounts on Twitter now”, a third of the number of registered users on Facebook. That’s up from reports at the start of 2010 when Twitter had around 75 million registered accounts. What isn’t clear however, is how many use Twitter with any regularity.

Mirroring the rapid increase in the number of Twitter accounts are the number of Tweets every day. In February last year Twitter users were sending 50 million tweets a day. That has more than doubled in the past year to around 110 million at the start of January this year.


The popular photo sharing site may not have as many users as the likes of Facebook and Twitter but when it comes to big numbers it has a few of its own. In a blog post in September 2010, Flickr proudly announced that the 5 billionth photo had been uploaded to the site. The 4 billion mark was passed in October 2009 so at that rate, 6 billion Flickr images could be reached in the second half of this year. As far as accounts go, Flickr has in excess of 30 million registered accounts.


Often overlooked when discussing social networks, LinkedIn is also growing in size. According to LinkedIn, there were more than 100 million users on the site in March this year. A year ago the site had around 50 million users which makes for an impressive 100% increase over the past few months.

The US accounts for the majority of LinkedIn users with more than 40 million accounts. Europe accounts for 20 million accounts and more than 2 million companies have pages on LinkedIn.

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Social networking's big numbers