Americans tend to think of social networking from a personal perspective, likely in simple terms of Facebook and Twitter and maybe even Pinterest. In reality, though, there are dozens of flourishing social networks across the globe, some of which U.S. residents have never even heard of. Social media is truly a global concept.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular social sites in countries other than the U.S. used by millions upon millions of people.
You may have never heard of Orkut, but everyone in Brazil has. With over 33,000,000 active and unique users, Orkut is Brazil’s number one social networking site. In fact, almost 60% of Orkut traffic originates in Brazil and the company (originally a branch of Google) was recently relocated from California to the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte. Orkut is similar to Google+ in that users separate each other into groups and share things like video and photos. It’s particularly popular among teens.
A mainstay in France, Skyrock is a blend of Facebook and MySpace, thematically. It’s a hub for music lovers and radicals where users can blog and post videos and the site is actually the 7th most popular social networking site in the entire world. Brands in France actually use Skyrock to create branded pages for marketing purposes and there are currently over 21 million users.
Never heard of it? It’s actually the second most popular social platform in Europe (after Facebook) and is most used among Russian-speakers. VK was originally called “VKontakte” and borrows heavily from Facebook in terms of design and features. The site averages 43 million daily users and allows members to create pages, tag friends in photos, and play games. English, Russian, and Ukrainian are actually the three “official” languages of the VK platform.
Everyone’s heard the rumblings of Chinese youth lamenting the fact that Facebook is banned (yes, banned) in the nation. Renren has been dubbed the “Chinese Facebook” as its look and feel are decidedly similar to Mark Zuckerberg’s site. Based in Beijing, Renren is actually a publically-traded company with at least 32,000,000 monthly users, all in China. It’s particularly popular among college students and in in 2007 went open platform, meaning Chinese developers are welcome to add functionalities to the site. Like everything else in China, Renren is heavily regulated by the government.
Cloob actually has a nominal number of users, only about 1,000,000, but what’s interesting about the site is that it’s the top-visited social site in Iran. Nearly every other social platform in the country has been blocked but Cloob remains strong, particularly among men over 65 years of age. What’s more, the site is invitation only and “operated within the boundaries of Iranian law.” Governments outside of Iran have speculated that the site may make it a little too easy for radicals to communicate unchecked.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that the social networks you’re used to are the ones everybody uses. In today’s globalized world that’s simply not the case and there are social sites with literally hundreds of millions of users based all throughout the world.