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Social Media and Sharing Tools - Skimming the Surface


Social Media and Sharing Tools - Skimming the Surface

Bamboozled? Baffled? No, these are not names of yet more social media tools, though they soon could be judging by the bewildering spread of tool icons erupting all over the web like some virulent, virtual social disease. The last few years have seen a veritable explosion of these 'cool tool' icons with names like 'Blurpalicious', 'Buzzzy' and 'Bordom'. However, it's not obligatory that these tools commence with the letter 'B'. There is a comprehensive A to Z offering with a sprinkling of numbers thrown in for good measure. Everything from '.netShoutout' to 'Yuuby' and '7live7.com' to 'Zakladok.net' is out there.

The site 'AddThis.com' offers over 350 such tools for display on the web. 'AddThis' is "the world's largest sharing and social insights platform." according to their website. They quote some interesting statistics in their end of year blog: Their service "is now installed on + 11 million domains" and "reaches + 1.2 billion users". Each property advert on our site - 'Rent a place in France.com' carries an 'AddThis' sharing tool box offering hundreds of these tools. So what are they all about? Which tools are worthwhile? Which are most popular?

Perhaps the last two questions are to some extent the same. The most popular should be the most worthwhile, after all, it's all about sharing. The most popular tool is, of course, the ubiquitous 'Facebook'. It can be seen almost everywhere, both on and off the web. A film has even been made about the company and its youthful founder and CEO 'Mark Zuckerberg'. According to 'AddThis', 'Facebook' "makes up 52.1% of sharing on the web" while "Twitter makes up 13.5%". 'Facebook' stands head and shoulders above all other tools with more than 800 million active users around the world. (An active user is defined as one who has returned to the site in the last 30 days). Facebook has come a long way fast since it's origins back in 2004. It's growth has been truly phenomenal.

The following growth figures appear on wikipedia:

Date Users in millions
August 26, 2008 100
April 8, 2009 200
September 15, 2009   300
February 5, 2010 400
July 21, 2010 500
January 5, 2011 600
May 30, 2011 700
September 22, 2011   800*
(* source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook)

Time will tell though, whether the company can continue to grow as quickly or even maintain its current user base. Internet bubbles have a habit of popping in geekland - it's a difficult act to remain both cool and common. One thing is for sure, such high levels of growth at 'Facebook' cannot continue indefinitely. The planet has over 2 billion internet users and 'Facebook' signup seems to peak at 50% of internet users per country*. This would seem to set some kind of realistic cap at around 1 billion users. But to reach the magic 1 billion is the stated goal of Zuckerberg.
(*source http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/13/has-facebook-peaked-drop-uk-users)

Moving down the popularity ladder but still holding on to a top rung is 'Twitter'. According to the 'Twitter' blog (http://blog.twitter.com/2011/03/numbers.html) it took 3 years, 2 months and 1 day to move from the first Tweet to the billionth Tweet. Nowadays 'Twitter' is so successful that the volume of tweets are counted per second. Again according to twitters blog (http://blog.twitter.com/2011_12_01_archive.html) "Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement on MTV's Video Music Awards in August broke the record for the highest TPS spike of all time: nearly 9,000 Tweets per second." Important and serious news certainly spreads fast these days.

'Twitter' has also spawned new words and meanings now quoted in English Dictionaries. These include new use of the the noun 'Twitter' but also 'Tweet', Retweet (repost or forward a tweet) and 'Tweetup' (the practice of organising meetings via 'Twitter'). You know you've arrived when you appear in the English dictionary!

Before closing here, I feel I should shed a little light on the intriguingly named tools mentioned previously. They describe themselves in their website's meta description ie supposedly the important stuff for search engine positioning as:

'Blurpalicious' - "New Year Facebook Statuses, Matric 10th Class Date Sheet 2012 of Lahore Board, Jewelry Houston, Sony Digital Cameras, Houston Jewelers, Cheap Lebron 9 Shoes Online Shopping, MTV Ranking: Katy Perry the Top Artist of 2011, Opes Capital Group Program up +0.74% in June (+9.05% YTD) on 'friendly’ volatile markets, Carpet Cleanng Miami, Air Duct Cleaning, Area Oriental Rug Cleaning, Motorola Xoom – The First PC Tablet with Android Honeycomb"

'Buzzzy' - "Search buzz updates in real-time for the hottest stories on the web."

'Bordom' - "peanut butter tuesday"
A little more insight is gleamed from their home page:- "Bordom is a collaboratively edited blog of funny memes, strange news, and other fascinating things found on the Internet."

'.netShoutout' - " DotNetShoutout is a place where you can find latest Microsoft .NET stories to increase your skills and share your opinions."

'Yuuby' - "Yuuby is the best way to explore friendships and discover people beyond the boundary of your social network. Join the conversation and find people having the same interests than you!"

'7live7.com' - "You can sale your products on our site, post free classifieds, search the web, have free user account with free email, have paypal checkout to accept money, and Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising."

'Zakladok.net' - " Закладок.нет - сервис хранения персональных Интернет-закладок. Широкие возможности для управления архивом закладок, общения и развлечений"
Mmmm, Russian site - according to Google this is a storage service of personal online bookmarks.

So, there's certainly a lot of choice. But as to quality...

Let's get back to where we started. 'Bamboozled' or perhaps 'Bamboozle' - Share your interactive diy puzzle? Online maze sharing tool? ....
'Baffled' - ? - Definitely more cool with question mark - To come? --- watch this space!

Enlightened? Maybe not, but again it could be another new tool.

(Published January/February 2012)

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