I decided to look at the history of Blogs, Twitter and social networking sites via Google Trends. Of course, there’s a lot of information about these, so analysis are not very in depth. Here is what I came up with:
The term ‘blog’ was coined late in 1997, but the blogs that we know and recognize today evolved from online personal diaries. Some of the earliest bloggers in the ‘diary’ era were journalist who kept diaries of their reporting adventures. Open Diary and Live Journal were some of the earliest sites offering online blog hosting and software, and Open Diary is known as one of the first to allow other users to comment on people’s journals.
The graph above shows us that between 2004 and 2005, blogs (or Google searches for blogs, at least) became increasingly popular as they were slowly integrated into the mainstream. This is generally attributed to political activism, starting in 2002 with the the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott scandal, where mainstream attention to some remarks made by Senator Lott was only given to the issue after bloggers started talking about it. From then on, blogs were used to sway political opinion, and they became increasingly popular during the 2004 election.
We can see that the popularity of blogs has leveled out, at least in terms of Google searches, since 2007.
This graph shows twitter taking off in popularity around late 2008, and I suspect that this also has something to do with the recent presidential election. But this also probably is a result of people figuring out how to make twitter useful. The famous “Arrested” incident in Egypt and twitter’s usefulness in the Virginia Tech shooting both occured in 2007-2008, which garnished significant media coverage. I do know that in 2007, twitter had funding and downtime issues as a result of an increasing userbase.
3. Myspace and Facebook
Myspace is the blue line; Facebook is the red line.
This graph makes it pretty evident that in terms of searches, Facebook is much more popular than myspace. What this graph doesn’t tell is that the majority of searches for Facebook are outside the United States. In fact, the United States doesn’t even make it into the top 10 list for searches. Myspace, on the other hand, has the vast majority of it’s searches inside the United States, but even that statistic is declining. For me, it begs the question: “Does Myspace have a future in a Web 2.0 world?”
It’s fun to make analysis of Web 2.0 tools using statistics, but of course, search statistics can only give part of the picture when it comes to analysis. For more interesting material, check out the history of # hashtags in twitter (via Google Trends, of course) and the recent popularity of twitter’s follow friday.