Top Social Web Products Of 2011
November 30, 2011 by staff
Top Social Web Products Of 2011, Every year at this time, ReadWriteWeb picks out the best of the Web over the past calendar year. Our annual Best Of series will be even bigger and better than ever in 2011! We have no less than ten themed ‘top 10′ lists coming your way over the following four weeks before Christmas, each prepared by a different member of our writing team. We’ll also survey the top trends of 2011, along with other regular features such as Best BigCo and LittleCo of the year. To kick things off, today we present our list of the 10 best social network and social media products of 2011.
Almost every Web product these days has some kind of social element. But to make this list, the product has to have social networking or community building as a core part of its offering. So without further ado, here are our top 10 Social Web products of 2011:
Up till 2011, Google wasn’t known for its social networking prowess. Unless you count Orkut, a social network product that became a phenomenon…in Brazil only. At the end of June 2011 that all changed, with the worldwide launch of (in our opinion) the best social network product of the year: Google+.
We selected Facebook as our Best BigCo of last year, due to astounding user growth. Facebook not only continued its impressive growth over 2011, but released a number of innovative new features. Some of those announcements were spurred on by the arrival of Google+. But the important thing is that not only did Facebook respond quickly, they changed things up with a radical new design and an entirely new form of sharing media.
Twitter was overshadowed a bit this year by Facebook and Google+, but it remains a force to be reckoned with as a mainstream social network. In September, it announced it had 100 million active users. It also got closely integrated into Apple’s iOS 5, which among other things enabled users to tweet directly from Apple apps like Camera, Maps, Photos and Safari.
Tumblr is another social media product to have experienced huge growth over 2011. During the past year, Tumblr has grown from just over 100 million visits per month to over 350 million now (according to Quantcast). Tumblr gets over 12.5 billion page views per month, over 8 times more than WordPress.com. Although we should note that WordPress.com still gets more visits and it too has grown a lot over 2011.
The Web of course is not just about reaching a mainstream audience – as Facebook, Twitter and others in our list have done. There are tens of thousands of social networks that appeal to a niche audience. Reddit is one example, although it has also shown strong growth by diversifying from its core tech-focused audience. In September, reddit blogged that it had tripled in size over the previous 15 months: “Since last May, we’ve grown from 7 million monthly unique visitors to 21.5 million. Our pageviews have exploded 4x to a staggering 1.6 billion pages served per month.”
One of the talking points of Mary Meeker’s presentation at Web 2.0 Summit in October was the future of sound. Meeker claimed that sound would soon be bigger than video on the Web. She name-checked a startup from Germany called SoundCloud, which enables people to create and share sounds.
LinkedIn, the leading business social network, has had a good year. Its user base increased by over 60% and revenue more than doubled.
Most impressively, LinkedIn has innovated with new product lines. Apply Through LinkedIn job applications and the recently launched Classmates are two examples. The latter is a data-driven tool targeted at students and recent graduates, its biggest growing demographic.
One of the key trends of 2011 has been so-called second screen apps – mobile apps that make watching television a less passive activity. GetGlue, a self-described “social network for entertainment,” is tapping into this growing market.
For a service that is only available on one platform (iOS) and doesn’t even have a proper website, Instagram has experienced very good growth since launching in October 2010. The photo sharing service now has 13 million users.
Social networking used to mean getting out and meeting people in the real world. At least one of this year’s top 10 hasn’t forgotten that! Meetup.com facilitates offline group meetings. While it got off to a shaky start in January, with a redesign that met with resistance, Meetup has impressed us this year for its ability to connect people in real life. We have used it ourselves, to organize local ReadWriteWeb meetups. It is a well used product among a wide variety of people – for example I belong to a book club that is organized through Meetup.com.
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