Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 77 - How do you use the Web?

Here’s a quick scan of the top ten most visited websites (according to The list is quite revealing. Which of these are you using regularly?
  1. Google (1997)
  2. Facebook (2004)
  3. Yahoo (1994)
  4. YouTube (2005)
  5. Windows Live (2005)
  6. Wikipedia (2000)
  7. (Purchased by Google in 2003)
  8. (1995)
  9. (2000, the leading Chinese Search Engine)
  10. (Yahoo in Japanese)
There are two conclusions we can draw from this list. First, internet users are primarily interested in three things: searching, socializing and entertainment. Second, check the dates to the right of each name on the list. That’s when the site was founded. Isn’t it amazing that Facebook gets much more traffic than Yahoo, even though it was launched a full 10 years later?

What does any of this mean for students, especially for those studying business, marketing, media or communications, and for consumers? To me, the message is loud and clear. While search function and information gathering are still very important to Internet users, socializing and connecting are what we really enjoy and the thing we do the most. Some have reported that people are leaving the Internet for Facebook. There’s some truth to that statement.

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Facebook is still today's single most popular online site. I use it more and more myself, and I enjoy it, even with the recent re-design. Like so many baby boomers, I found that Facebook allowed me to finally reconnect with so many old friends, far away family members and colleagues from all areas of my life and career. Did you notice that Twitter didn't even make the list? The micro-blogger may be coming on strong today, but I predict it’s future is primarily in marketing. It doesn’t allow much of anything in the way of real connecting, unless you're a celebrity nurturing a fan base.

Interestingly, the top 10 list also tells us that visitors to Google, Yahoo and Windows Live are not just going there to search. Far from it; each service offers a social media aspect to it. Google offers Gmail, Docs, Picasa and live chat. Yahoo has a whole host of services that connect us, as does MSN (Bing). So the lines between simple online searches and social connecting are becoming more blurred as the big search engines take on more and more of the social connecting services. Interesting!

Data Source: Reuters.

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