Insights: Comparison of Old and New Social Network Maps (XKCD vs Flowtown)

By Perks |

XKCD created a map of online communities in 2007. Fast forward to 2010, Flowtown created a followup called The 2010 Social Networking Map. The following is a breakdown of the changes as well as some general insights for now and the future.


OLD (2007):


NEW (2010):



Changes from Spring 2007 to Summer 2010

  • Yahoo has changed substantially. Yahoo has moved a step down to now being comprised of defunct social networks (Mash, 360, Kickstart) as well as a step up to having it’s own sizeable area just north of Facebook. Flickr (a property of Yahoo) is now it’s own area. Noticeably missing Delicious.
  • AOL isn’t it’s own area anymore. It’s predicted that AOL & Windows Live will join Yahoo (see: Receding Glaciers of AOL & Windows Live). Bebo has been defined as a sizeable area, while AIM has been relegated to the tundra.
  • Facebook & Myspace have switched places. Facebook has grown from being on the subcontinent of Myspace to being the main nation. Myspace is now the Former Kingdom of Myspace with the Lake of Myspace Bands & a note that says ‘Not all users are active’.
  • Youtube emerges. The Gulf of Youtube has emerged as a fully formed separate island, which is a part of the Empire of Google.
  • Google expands drastically. Google’s Volcano Fortress has grown to be the Empire of Google and the Rising Island of Google Buzz. They have seemingly come out of nowhere to have information gathering outposts everywhere. It makes me think what are they doing with all the information they’re gathering.
    • Their many Information Gathering Outposts are off of: Youtube, Twitter, Orkut, between Facebook & Yahoo, Bebo, Wikipedia
  • Livejournal is still around and relatively the same size.
  • Orkut, Friendster sustain size. Orkut and Friendster are still around and possibly a little bit larger, but nothing in comparison to how large their subcontinent mate Facebook has grown
  • Digg & Stumbleupon grow, become relative. Digg has grown and separated from other islands to be on it’s own, off of the Stumbleupon Sea (which was previously a small island). Interesting that they’re near Twitter since sharing of both services’ links are done largely through Twitter.
  • Wikis explode onto the scene. The Wikipedia Project has grown to become the United Territories of Wikimedia. Gone are Engadget & MIT in place of all “Wiki” named properties (Wikisource, Wikileaks, Marvel wiki, Reference wiki, Science wiki, Wiktionary, Wikicity, En.Wikipedia, Fr.Wikipedia, Pl.Wikipedia) & Citizendium.
  • Flickr grows. It’s not surprising that Flickr has grown in size as it has revamped it’s interface, added integrated sharing to Twitter & Facebook, has a custom URL shortener and is considered the default photo sharing social network by most. Not really too sure why Flickr is in between the social games and blogging area, as Flickr has no sort of social gaming aspect.
  • Tools as social networks? I wouldn’t have necessarily included Tweetdeck as it’s a tool that doesn’t sign up users separately unlike fellow 3rd party app Twitpic, which provides a photo platform. If that were the case I would have included Hootsuite, Seesmic and Cotweet as well.


  • WOW (World of Warcraft), Second Life,,, Faceparty, Cyworld, OK Cupid, Piczo, Broadcaster, Lineage, Runescape, Deviant Art, Reddit, Fark, Spaaarta, IRC isles, Sulawesi, Boing Boing, Technorati, Xanga, Huffington Post, Delicious, Something Awful, 2channel, 4chan, Your Base, Yahoo Games, Engadget, MIT


  • Twitter (along with it’s own subnations – Foursquare, Twitpic, Tweetdeck, Digsby), Ebay, Habbo, Hi5, LinkedIn, Xing, Live Jasmin, Adult Friendfinder, Youporn, Chemistry, Match, Blogster, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogspot, Bing, Pandora, Imeem, LOL Cats


  • Music
    • Pandora,, Imeem.  
    • Noticeably missing:
  • Blogging (formerly The Blogipelago)
    • Tumblr, WordPress, Livejournal, Blogspot, Flixster, Blogster.
    • Noticably missing: Blogger, Typepad
  • Dating (new)
    • Match, Eharmony, Chemistry.
    • Noticeably missing: OK Cupid (gone) – Eharmony was moved.
  • Porn (new)
    • Live Jasmin, Adult Friendfinder, Youporn.
    • Noticeably missing: Xtube


  • Mixx, Tagged, Gowalla, Google Chat, Skype, Posterous, 12seconds, Twitvideo, XBOX Live, Plaxo,, Blogger, Typepad, Xtube


  • Apple. Volcanic Island of Iphone Apps. Remember, Google started as a volcanic island and now they’re an Empire with many outposts, a large island of Youtube & a rising island of Google Buzz. Next to come?: Empire of Apple, Island of LaLa, Sea of iTunes, etc
  • Social Gaming. Habbo & Hi5 came out of nowhere. I would have put Farmville Valley closer to Habbo & Hi5 as they’re all social games networks. I figure Zynga would have warranted it’s own area (possibly inside & outside of Facebook separated by a dashed line) considering it’s properties of Farmville, Mafia Wars etc are extremely popular and used often.
  • Google. They have grown in social to become an empire with many outposts. Google Me (Google’s potential social network) will be coming in some form as Google continues to buy up web properties to enhance their empire – gaming companies, shopping companies etc.
  • Foursquare / LBS. Not Foursquare specifically but Location Based Services. Facebook Places has just launched which will definitely normalize these new services to the general masses and cause adoption rate to climb substantially.



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