National Geographic : 2010 Mar
17 7 4 4 17 14 10 8 16 24 13 Germany Japan Brazil China India Canada Russia United Kingdom France United States DEVIANTA RT KAIXIN001 SKYROCK STUDIVZ SITES WER�KENNT�WEN BHARAT STUDENT HATENA BOOKMARK MIXI ODNOKLASSNIKI VKONTAKTE BEBO VK FACEBOOK 430 WINDOWS LIVE PROFILE 164 MYSPACE 110 BAIDU SPACE 63 TWITTER 58 ORKUT 54 HI5 47 QQ ALUMNI 43 35 LINKEDIN 34 Unique visitors age 15 and over, October 2009 (in millions) 01 02 03 0 GRAPHIC: OLIVER UBERTI, NG STAFF; HIRAM HENRIQUEZ. SOURCE: COMSCORE, INC. GEOGRAPHY The first social-network website, known as SixDegrees, launched 13 years ago. Its members could find and send messages to pals---and then communicate with each other's friends and family---online. The site went off-line in 2000, but the trend of social networking has surged. More and more people are joining sites that let them set up profiles and share photos and updates about anything from their lunch to their daydreams. U.S.-based giants Facebook and Windows Live are popular just about everywhere. But why is Google's Orkut site number one in both Brazil and India, countries miles apart literally and culturally? Researcher Michael Thelwall credits that site's simplicity, which gives it an advantage in places with slow Internet access. In many countries nuances of language and culture make homegrown networks such as China's Baidu Space and Russia's VKontakte stronger than imports. Japan's top site, Mixi, lists blood types as part of its member profiles, catering to the local belief that knowing that tidbit can predict compatibility. And in South Korea, Cyworld users create avatars, or alter egos, that express emotions and repair friendships on behalf of their real-life counterparts. ---Shelley Sperry World Wide Friends In October 2009 more than 830 million users visited social networks via home and office computers. Ten sites (below in dark blue) had the most visitors. Green lines connect countries where networks are most popular to their three favorite sites.