International social networking - please help verify!
November 30, 2007 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Global social networking: I've assembled this list of the most popular social networking websites in the US, France, Germany, China, India, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Users of these sites: please help me make sure it's accurate!

I use the US and UK sites, so I don't need input on those (although it is welcome anyway). I mostly need info on whether or not these are indeed the most popular sites for the other countries, and if you're up to it, please throw in your impressions of them, the reasons for their success (features? statistics? marketing? cultural context?), etc.


MSN/Windows Livespaces

Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, South Africa (3 mil)
Xing (business network, 2.5 mil) (1 mil)

Myspace China



Dutch: Hyves (3 mil ?)
Finland: IRC-Galleria
Sweden: LunarStorm, Playahead (teens)

MSN/Windows Livespaces
eConozco (150k) (purchased by Xing)

big on social bookmarking: Segnalo, Smarking, Taggly
MSN/Windows Livespaces
posted by lhall to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bebo is also big in Ireland and New Zealand. Orkut is huge in Brazil (as of this month 61.6% of Orkut's traffic is Brazilian, with India coming in second at 20.0%). I noticed LiveJournal isn't on here anywhere.

In general, Alexa has a lot of data about this. Click on the "Site Info for $SITE" below the site's url then Traffic Details.
posted by Nelsormensch at 3:04 PM on November 30, 2007

If you count it as social networking-- which Alexa does-- Fotolog is the #1 social network in most of the Spanish-speaking world.
posted by atomly at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Hyves is really big here in the Netherlands indeed. It seems like everybody is "on" it. It is definitely THE social network here.

It looks like you think Finland and Sweden are part of the Netherlands, but they are not.
posted by davar at 3:55 PM on November 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Some people in Germany use MySpace - particularly musicians. But yeah, StudiVZ seems to be the big one here.
posted by ubersturm at 4:20 PM on November 30, 2007

Netherlands is definitely Hyves, but your geography needs an update.

Dutch = Something from the Netherlands and is the name of the Language spoken in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the name of the country.

Sweden and Finland are Scandinavian countries.

Perhaps you meant to research "the low countries"? That generally indicates the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
posted by Wafel at 4:36 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: The list for Germany seems right but StudiVZ (and SchülerVZ which is the same thing but aimed at younger people) is far bigger than the other two and have more than 6 million users. They're both a ripoff of Facebook.

Sweden and Finland are Scandinavian countries.
Finland is not part of Scandinavia.

(I'm not sure what metric would suggest grouping Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and South Africa together)
posted by snownoid at 4:56 PM on November 30, 2007

I am not sure if you are interested, but Google's Orkut is HUGE in Brazil. I am not really sure why it caught on to the extent that it has, but even my mother's friends have joined in (they are all in their late 50s). It has been able to attract many different age groups, which I find Facebook has yet to do in Canada (where I live), and I am guessing the US as well.
posted by TheyCallItPeace at 5:13 PM on November 30, 2007

Make that "Nordic" countries then.
(there's always a metric that fits as you justly imply :-p ).

Officially there's three definitions of Scandinavia though:
- Geographical, which incorporates a part of north-western Finland
- Political, which doesn't include Finland
- Historical, which puts Scandinavia as synonym for members of the "Nordisk råd". Which includes Finland.
posted by Wafel at 5:14 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Facebook hit really hard in Finland this fall, from 10000 in August to current >270000 users. IRC-galleria is still largest with 400000 users.
Orkut is big in Estonia.
posted by Free word order! at 5:20 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: Have you seen The World Map of Social Networks? It's not entirely comprehensive, but it has some major ones that you've missed. The comments are also enlightening.
posted by anaelith at 7:14 PM on November 30, 2007

Best answer: I haven't used it myself, but I keep seeing kids on something called hi5 at internet cafes here in India.
posted by Hollow at 1:38 AM on December 1, 2007

Best answer: Facebook is growing very fast in France. I don't have numbers or anything, i'm not even in France anymore, but almost all my french friends had facebook's accounts when i signed up last month.
I think Facebook is growing fast there because it's not as teenager oriented as myspace. Well, it doesn't look like it.
A lot of 30 something who would'nt have been caught dead with a myspace account are going to open a facebook account in a "my generation's myspace" kinda way.
posted by SageLeVoid at 6:32 AM on December 1, 2007

Response by poster: (I'm not sure what metric would suggest grouping Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and South Africa together)

It has to do with a division of a company that controls manufacturing in those countries. Ditto for the Netherlands/Finland/Sweden stuff. My geography's fine, it's just my personal note-taking.
posted by lhall at 9:00 AM on December 1, 2007

I don't know if you are now, or will be later, interested in Russia, but here goes. In that country, the biggest purely social networking site is, far and away,, which is translated as (and is an exact equivalent of) "". Even people who barely know to use a computer have a profile on there. There is also (translated as "in touch"), that is more-or-less a Russian facebook clone, but one that is still only open to university students and alumni. There is some aspect of geographical rivalry between the two, as it often happens in Russia - odnoklassniki is a lot more of a "Moscow thing", while vkontakte is a St. Petersburg institution. But most savvy people will have an account on both.

Additionally, a lot of Russians have blogs on (and thus social network through) It's one of those weird situations where a product developed in country X gains an immense following in country Y for no discernible reason. Same story as the crowds of Brazilians all using
posted by blindcarboncopy at 12:26 PM on December 1, 2007

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