Facebook, Twitter boom despite Google+ challenge

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

Despite Google+'s making 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 had strong gains.

Twitter showed a 32% increase year-over-year, with close to 33 million unique visitors last month, comScore reported. LinkedIn had a 45% increase with just over 32 million unique visitors.

Behind its competitors with more than 13 million unique visitors, Tumblr, a blogging platform, showed a whopping 218% growth.

Things weren't so rosy for MySpace , which has been slipping from its once pioneering success in the social space. According to comScore, MySpace showed a 45% drop in unique visitors, falling from nearly 61 million unique visitors in July 2010 to just a little more than 33 million last month.

While comScore didn't report on the status of Google+ for July, Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore, said he expects the site will be tracking Google's new social network by next month.

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 the immediate success of Google+, it's momentum is not slashing 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? It could happen. "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 -- teen users and those 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 e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)

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