You guys seen this – map created by Wandamere, and discussed on Valleywag:

Click on it to get a bigger map, that you can read.

Here’s some of the article for the lazy:

Let’s play global domination. Here’s a map of the world, showing the dominant social networks by country, according to Alexa. There are way more players than anybody, from a vantage point in Silicon Valley, would expect. In the US, the story of social networks is this: there was Friendster, which had no purpose but dating and didn’t scale; then Myspace, which gave people freedom to make ugly personal websites; and then came along Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, which was classier.

But other services, such as hi5.com, Bebo, Orkut and Friendster itself, have established, and maintained, footholds outside the US. Unsurprisingly, social networks, which let people share news, photographs and other content with their friends, benefit from network effects. A dominant local site, such as Orkut in Brazil, can hold off the competition because it’s the default, and nobody wants to migrate to another site, however much more advanced, if their friends won’t follow.

Some patterns from the data:

  • Orkut leads in the Indian subcontinent, as well as Brazil;
  • Facebook is stronger, internationally, than Myspace, with surprising strongholds in the Middle East;
  • hi5.com is the most international of all the social networks, leading in Peru, Colombia, Central America, and other, scattered countries such as Mongolia, Romania, and Tunisia;
  • both Bebo and Skyblog follow colonial patterns, the first strong in smaller English-speaking countries such as Ireland and New Zealand, and the latter in Francophone countries;
  • and Friendster, the original social network, leads all across Southeast Asia.
  • Fotolog, a photo service defeated in the US by Friendster, has re-emerged as the dominant social network in Argentina and Chile.

You can see Australia is blue. Facebook blue. the full article on Valleywag has a clickable map and so on.

I don’t have much to say about this – just posted it for interest sake. One thing to be aware of: definitions, particularly when it comes to metrics. For example, 2CH in Japan had over two and half million posts yesterday alone, yet its not on here. If you want to advertise, you may want a site that is number 12 on the global Alexa ratings. Lots of eyeballs (traditional media term for passive consumption). If you want to interact, have a conversation, and co-create with your Japanese consumer, 2ch is a good place to start. Mass or a niche, my poppets? Not that 2ch is a niche by any stretch of the imagination.

For potential social network builders: In Australia, if you don’t target what real Australians are doing, you are going to have to try and piggyback off a major mass network and hope to build traction through Facebook apps and iGoogle/Yahoo/blog widgets. If you don’t target real Australian issues and activities, why would your possible member want to join an Aussie network instead of a global one? And if you’re going global, you are up some well established networks – churn is not as high as you think. But hey, good luck. šŸ™‚