Facebook, Twitter boom despite Google+ challenge

Report shows strong growth for social nets, especially Tumblr and LinkedIn

Even though Google+ has made a huge splash in the social networking world, rivals Facebook and Twitter continue to grow at dramatic rates.

Facebook had more than 162 million unique visitors to its site in July, according to comScore, an online traffic tracker. That's an 11% increase from July 2010.

And while Facebook had a good July, Twitter and LinkedIn also showed strong gains.

Twitter saw a 32% increase year over year, with close to 33 million unique visitors last month, according to comScore. And LinkedIn had a 45% increase, with just over 32 million unique visitors.

With just over 13 million unique visitors, Tumblr, a blogging platform, didn't match the traffic of the other sites, but it did show whopping growth of 218%.

Things weren't so rosy for MySpace, a once-successful social networking pioneer whose best days seem to be behind it. According to comScore, MySpace experienced a 45% drop in unique visitors, falling from nearly 61 million in July 2010 to just a bit more than 33 million last month.

ComScore didn't report on the status of Google+ for July, but it will probably start tracking Google's new social network by next month, said Andrew Lipsman, comScore's vice president of industry analysis.

Earlier this month, comScore reported that Google+ had amassed 25 million users in just a little more than a month since its beta launch. Despite its initial success, Google+ doesn't seem to be cutting into its rivals' growth.

"I was not surprised that Facebook and Twitter continued to gain strength, because the social networking market is not a zero-sum game," Lipsman told Computerworld. "Over the past several years, Internet users have shown a willingness to incorporate several social networking sites into their online routine, and at this point in time it would appear that Google+ usage is mostly incremental to existing usage."

So, could Google+'s growth start to eat into other network's user bases? Possibly. "It is simply too early to tell how Google+ will affect the social media landscape," said Lipsman. "Social networking is still a growing category, which means that new players have the opportunity to stake out a position in the market and capture some of that growth."

He also noted that Twitter showed some interesting growth segments. The microblogging site gained a lot of new users from two ends of the demographic spectrum -- teenagers and people over 55.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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