Social Networking: Not Dead By a Long Shot, and Eating Up Toronto

A couple of notes on social networking:

Reports of Social Networking’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated

In a blog entry titled Is social networking dead? Nope. We’ve only just seen the beginning. Here’s why, Alex Krupp does some good thinking about social networks and how they currently lack credibility. One particularly good observation he makes is that social networks can connect people in three ways:

  1. Strengthening existing relationships
  2. Connecting friends-of-friends
  3. Introducing complete strangers

He uses Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace as examples of sites that strengthen existing relationships through information sharing, but differentiate themselves by focus and the type of information shared — “For example, MySpace uses the musical tastes of others to facilitate the discovery of new music,” whereas LinkedIn is used primarily for career-type networking.

He has this advice for creators and investors hoping to create the Next Big Thing in social networking:

Each of these sites facilitates only a tiny fraction of possible human interaction. Which is why creating “Facebook but with emoticons!” or “MySpace but for for the Amish!” is so silly. Facebook and MySpace already do a great job in their respective niches, and it would be very difficult to unseat them. And since there is so much potential in the yet unexplored possibility space, it makes no sense to even try.

There is a lesson here for venture capitalists as well. Sure, the vast majority of pitches for new social networking sites may be terrible. But that doesn’t mean the possibilities for creating value have been exhausted. The next two guys to show up on your doorstep just might be a little less dumb than you think.

10% of Toronto is on Facebook

According to Ryan Feeley, the number of people on Facebook claiming Toronto as their home has crossed the half-million mark, or about ten percent of city’s metropolitan population. From the data below, you can see that Facebookers — of which I am one — make a much bigger portion of the population of Toronto than New York, L.A. or London.

City Metro Population Facebook Members
Toronto, Canada 5,113,149 +500,000
London, UK 7,554,236 338,188
New York City 18,818,536 206,228
Chicago 9,505,748 195,410
Vancouver 2,116,581 159,947
Los Angeles 12,950,129 102,130
Calgary 1,079,310 90,859
Philadelphia 5,826,742 90,091
Montreal 3,635,571 82,922
Houston 5,539,949 69,682