“Beyond Facebook: 74 Popular Social Networks Worldwide” is our list from 2011 of the leading social media sites. But much has changed since then, with thousands of new sites having been launched.
Social networks are wildly popular. A study conducted by Pew Internet in 2013 found that 73 percent of the U.S. population uses at least one social site.
Instead of profiling each and every social network, this post will do two things. First, it will list the largest social networks in the world based on the number of active users. Second, the post will also indicate social networks that were added since the 2011 article, by placing “(New)” beside the name.
General Purpose Social Media Sites
- Facebook. Facebook is the world’s largest social network with over 1.4 billion members and annual revenues exceeding $12 billion. There are apps available that allow retailers (or even consumers) to sell to this community. Facebook is available worldwide.
- QQ. (New) QQ is a social network primarily focused on instant messaging and has over 800 million members. It was launched in China but has grown and is now offered in six languages: English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German and Korean. QQ offers some commerce functionality by using virtual money called “Q coin.”
- WhatsApp. (New) WhatsApp is another instant-messaging-focused social network with over 700 million members globally. It was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 but operates as a separate entity.
- QZone. QZone is a social network available only in China and has over 600 million members. This network is also owned by Tencent (like QQ) and it sells accessories to allow its users to customize the look of their webpages. QZone does a lot of cross-promotion across the QQ platform to get more users.
- WeChat. (New) WeChat is a social mobile app with voice and text messaging and almost 500 million members. This is another social site that is part of Tencent. Users can register using their phone number or even their Facebook account. Phone numbers of approximately 100 countries are supported. WeChat also works with QQ.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It has about 350 million members. LinkedIn is available globally in 20 different languages and is used by the recruiting professionals for hiring the right candidates.
- Skype. (New) Skype offers a social network that allows users to communicate by (a) voice using a microphone, (b) video by using a webcam, and (c) instant messaging over the Internet. Skype-to-Skype calls are free of charge, while calls to landline telephones and mobile phones (over traditional telephone networks) are charged via a debit-based user account system called Skype Credit. Skype has over 300 million active users.
- Google+. (New) Google+ is Google’s social community with over 300 million members. It offers a popular video conferencing feature called Hangouts.
- Instagram. (New) Instagram is a photo-sharing and video-sharing social network with over 300 million members. It is part of the Facebook family. Instagram gained rapid adoption because of its ability to easily apply multiple filters to a photo, which can post to different social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.
- Baidu Tieba. (New) Baidu Tieba uses search to enable its users to create a new social network for a specific topic or join an existing social network for that topic. It has over 8 million such small social networks that are also called bars. Total active users are over 300 million. It is offered internationally under the brand name Postbar.
- Twitter. Twitter enables its just under 300 million users to send and receive 140-character messages that are called tweets. Twitter is available worldwide and also offers commerce features for shopping directly using tweets.
- Viber. (New) Viber is a social network primarily focused on text and voice messaging with almost 250 million members. It is available in over 30 languages and also allows calling non-Viber users using a feature called Viber Out.
- Tumblr. Tumblr is a micro-blogging social network with over 200 million members. It allows users to post blogs that others can follow, making it a good option to announce new product introductions and promotions.
- Snapchat. (New) Snapchat is a messaging social network that allows sharing of photos and videos for a limited period of time that is defined by the user. It has over 200 million users. The service is available in over 15 languages.
- LINE. (New) Line is a messaging social network that enables its users to exchange texts, images, audio files, or videos. It has over 200 million active users and is available worldwide with the largest user base in Japan.
- Sina Weibo. (New) Sina Weibo is a micro-blogging social network with over 150 million active users. It is one of the most popular sites in China.
- VK. VK, previously known as VKontakte, is one of the largest Russian social networks with over 100 million users. It offers features very similar to those on Facebook.
- Reddit. (New) Reddit is a social network with over 100 million active users. It allows its members to submit content and then vote to move the submissions up or down. Content is organized by areas of interest that is called subreddits.
- YY. (New) YY is a unique social network in China that supports group video chats with over 100,000 members simultaneously watching a single person perform an activity, such as karaoke. It has grown to about 100 million active users and also provides a way for its users to make real money by converting virtual currency — i.e., “roses” — into real currency.
- Taringa!. (New) Taringa! provides a means for over 75 million members to express themselves on the site by sharing content, information, and experiences. It is one of the largest social networks in Latin America.
- Telegram. (New) Telegram is an instant messaging social network focused on privacy and multi-platform availability. The site has over 50 million active users and is available in 8 languages. Users can send encrypted and self-destructing messages with photos and videos.
- Tagged. Tagged is a social network that encourages dating amongst its users. It acquired another social network, Hi5, in 2011 to grow its community. It now has about 25 million active users.
- Myspace. Myspace is a social network mostly focused around promoting music. At one point it was the largest social network in the U.S. but it now has less than 20 million active users.
- Badoo. Badoo is a dating-focused social network with a presence in almost 200 countries. It is popular in Latin America, Italy, Spain, and France and has about 20 million active users.
- StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is a social network that enables discovery of content that has been personalized to a user’s interests. It is also offered as a browser toolbar. It has roughly 10 million active users.
- Foursquare. Foursquare is a geo-location social network for the mobile users. It provides personalized offers and recommendations based on a user’s location. As of last year, it has separated the social networking feature in a separate app called Swarm. It supports 12 languages, with roughly 50 percent of its users coming from outside the U.S.
- MeetMe. MeetMe is a social network focused around making new friends. It renamed itself from myYearbook in 2012. It has several million users that are under 18 and is a good target for retailers who want to sell to the younger consumers.
- Meetup. Meetup is a social network that enables a group to meet offline to discuss a specific topic. It was originally created for politics but has now expanded to cover any topic like fashion, games, and movies.
- Skyrock. Skyrock is a social network mainly targeted towards the French speaking community. The site offers members space to create their profiles and blogs. The social network is also available in English, Dutch, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
- Delicious. Delicious allows sharing of bookmarks by having the users tag them with any keywords.
- Kiwibox. Kiwibox is a social network for teens and young adults. It also offers an online magazine and is primarily used by its members to show off their interests and skills, such as writing, photography, and technical tasks.
Photo Sharing Networks
Instagram and Snapchat are the largest photo sharing networks. But there are others that are widely used.
- Snapfish. (New) Snapfish is the largest photo sharing social network that provides its members with unlimited space to upload their photos.
- Flickr. Flickr continues to be a popular social network among photography enthusiasts. It has millions of photos uploaded to the site on a daily basis.
- Photobucket. (New) Photobucket is another photo sharing network with its photos being used for personal and business purposes. It is also the default photo-sharing platform for Twitter users.
- DeviantArt. DeviantArt is a photo sharing site that showcases user-made artwork. It encourages its members to provide feedback on the uploaded artwork and is considered to be the largest social network of this kind in the world.
- Fotolog. Fotolog is a photo blogging social network with members in 200 countries. Most of its users are based in South America.
- Pinterest. (New) Pinterest is a photo sharing social network that allows photos to be pinned — i.e., shared — from other sites for access by the members of the network. The site is more popular with women.
- Buzznet. Buzznet is a photo and video sharing site that integrates with Facebook. Members participate in communities that are aligned with their interests.
- We Heart It. (New) We Heart It is a photo sharing social network for inspiring images. Users can collect and share their favorite images with their friends. It supports over 20 languages and has over 20 million members.
- Path. (New) Path is a photo-sharing and messaging social network that allows its users to share photos with up to 50 of their close friends and family members. It supports about 20 languages.
- Last.fm. Last.fm is a music discovery service that gives personalized recommendations based on the music the user listens to. It has a system that tracks user activity to recommend the songs the user might like.
- ReverbNation. ReverbNation is a social network for music artists that helps them launch their careers and helps provide them with the right industry access for their growth and success.
- Cross.tv. Cross.tv is a Christian social network that is similar to Facebook and has about half a million members. It is available in over 30 languages.
- Flixster. Flixster is a social network for the movie enthusiast, to connect with individuals with similar taste in movies. It also runs a leading movie review site called Rotten Tomatoes.
- Gaia Online. Gaia Online is an anime-themed social network with avatars, virtual worlds, gaming, and many other features.
- BlackPlanet. BlackPlanet is a matchmaking social network targeted towards African Americans. It also has forums for jobs and political discussions.
- Care2. Care2 is social networking site that connects activists from around the world with other individuals, organizations, and responsible businesses that are making an impact.
- CaringBridge. CaringBridge is a nonprofit site that supports someone in a time of need. This could be when someone is going through a medical challenge, or a tough time after the passing of a close relative. People can share updates, photos, and videos with their friends and family.
- VampireFreaks. VampireFreaks is an online community for the Gothic–industrial subcultures and has grown over the years to have millions of members.
- CafeMom. CafeMom is an ad-supported social networking site, which is targeted at mothers and mothers to be. This is a good place for retailers to offer products to moms.
- Ravelry. Ravelry is a social network for people interested in knitting, crocheting, spinning, or weaving. The users can share ideas and their own collections to get feedback and collaborate with other members.
- ASmallWorld. ASmallWorld is a paid social network that works like a private travel and social club. The annual membership is $110 and is paid after the application to become a member is approved.
- Nextdoor. (New) Nextdoor is a social network for neighborhoods in the U.S. It allows it members to connect with their neighbors and has gained significant adoption in the last few months.
- Wayn. Wayn is a travel social network with a goal to (a) help discover where to go and what to do, (b) meet like-minded people, and (c) share aspirations and experiences.
- CouchSurfing. CouchSurfing is a social network that makes travel affordable by connecting people who are looking for a place to stay with people who welcome them to sleep in their couches and homes. The objective is to make new friends by using this shared economy model.
- TravBuddy. TravBuddy specializes in connecting travelers. It allows users to find others who are planning to travel to the same places at the same times, create travel based blogs, upload travel photos, and review bars, restaurants, hotels and attractions.
- Cellufun. Cellufun is an anonymous social gaming community that can be accessed from any mobile device. Users create avatars to represent themselves.
- MocoSpace. MocoSpace is another mobile social gaming network that is available in English and Spanish.
- Itsmy. Itsmy is a mobile gaming network that also enables communication between gamers and allows games to be played on any device.
- YouTube. YouTube is a video sharing social network that enables its users to upload, view, and share videos. It is available worldwide and is one of the most accessed sites on the web.
- Youku. (New) Youku is a YouTube clone based in China and has roughly 500 million active users. Youku is only available in Chinese.
- FunnyorDie. FunnyOrDie is a comedy video site that allows users to upload, share, and rate videos. It has a large following in the celebrity community.
- Tout. (New) Tout is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and view 15-second videos, known as “touts.”
- Vine. (New) Vine is a short form video sharing social network that allows its users to post 6-second videos. The service integrates with other social networks to allow the videos to be watched from other networks. It is owned by Twitter.
- Classmates. Classmates connects high school friends and also allows for the uploading of high school yearbook(s).
- MyLife. MyLife is a different take on social networking, as it helps people find their friends, family members, and business associates for a fee. The site used to be called Reunion.com and Wink.com before it was renamed to MyLife.
- MyHeritage. MyHeritage enables discovery, sharing, and preserving of family history. Users can create their family tree and search historical records to find ancestors. They can also build connections with new relatives that are discovered using the site. The site supports 42 languages. MyHeritage acquired Geni, another similar site.
LinkedIn is the largest business network in the world. There are many other business networks, however, and here are a few prominent ones.
- Viadeo. Viadeo is a social network for business people mostly in Europe. It is offered in seven languages and has over 50 million members.
- Ryze. Ryze helps expand professionals’ business networks by connecting them with industry professionals and like-minded individuals. It also offers sharing of practical advice, tips, and resources between members.
- Xing. Xing is a business network similar to LinkedIn but with the ability to create closed groups to enable private discussions within a company. Most of its users are in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Pre-teen, Teen, and Young Adult Networks
- WeeWorld. WeeWorld is a social gaming company for teens and tweens where the users create avatars to interact with each other.
- Habbo. Habbo is a gaming company for teenagers that allows them to pick their avatars and design hotel rooms, meet new friends, chat with other players, and so on. The site has presence in roughly 150 countries and is also the largest social network in Finland.
- Tuenti. Tuenti started out as the “Spanish Facebook” but has now expanded to support 14 languages with a mostly younger user base. After acquisition by Telefonica, it has started offering mobile operator service.
Tumblr and Sina Weibo are two larger social networks focused around blogging. Here are some other prominent ones.
- Xanga. Xanga hosts weblogs, photoblogs, and social networking profiles for its millions of members.
- Solaborate. (New) Solaborate is a social network and collaboration platform dedicated to technology professionals and companies to connect, collaborate, discover opportunities, and create an ecosystem around products and services.
- Plurk. (New) Plurk is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates through short messages or links, which can be up to 210 text characters. Most of Plurk’s traffic comes from Taiwan.
- LiveJournal. (New) LiveJournal allows its users to maintain a blog, journal, or diary. Several prominent public figures use this service — especially in Russia, where it partners with an online newspaper. It is offered in 32 languages.
International Social Networks
- Mixi. Mixi is a popular social networking site in Japan with over 20 million active users. It is focused on matching people based on common interests.
- Douban. Douban is a Chinese site that serves both registered and unregistered users. Registered users can create content and connect with others while the unregistered users can search and review the ratings of books, music, and movies.
- Renren. Renren is a Chinese social network that is popular amongst college students. It has over 30 million active users.
- Odnoklassniki. Odnoklassniki helps the Russian community find classmates and old friends. It is offered in nine different languages.
- NK. NK is a Polish social network with a focus on attracting high school and college students.
- Netlog. Netlog is a Belgian site targeted at the global youth demographic. The site supports roughly 20 languages.
- StudiVZ. StudiVZ is a German social networking site for students.
- Friendster. Friendster is a social gaming network in Asia that supports 11 languages. Years ago, it was the top social network in the U.S.
- Kaixin001. (New) Kaixin001 is a gaming social network in China that attracts white collar workers.
- 51.com. (New) 51.com is one of the largest social networks in China with over 50 million active users. It competes with QZone, Renren, and Kaixin001.
- Nexopia. (New) Nexopia is a Canadian social network with about 500,000 active members. It allows users to create and design their profiles, have list of friends, blog, write articles, and build photo galleries.
- Draugiem. (New) Draugiem is the largest social networking site in Latvia with over 2 million members. It is also available in English, Russian, and Hungarian.
- Glocals. (New) Glocals is a social network created in Switzerland for the expatriate community. It allows the community members to meet, organize activities, and share information.
- Cyworld. (New) Cyworld is a South Korean social network with millions of members. It also operates in China and Vietnam. It enables users to create friendships by using their avatars.