15) FriendFeed (0.75 points)
Why? – FriendFeed does not score high in this analysis, but it’s mostly because of its freshness. The lifestreaming service, launched this year, has seen tremendous growth. Being able to see you and your friend’s YouTube favorites, Twitter tweets, blog posts, and diggs in one location is apparently a winning model. FriendFeed may not have millions of users (yet), but it does have all of the buzz and it will continue to generate astronomical growth and attention.
14) Reddit (1.03 points)
Why? – Reddit, although nowhere near as influential as large or as powerful as Digg or StumbleUpon, is still a long-standing social news website that drives traffic to many blogs and websites. Its funky alien and active community were enough for Condé Nast (Wired, Vogue, GQ, the New Yorker) to acquire them in 2006. Reddit’s recent move to go open-source and allow others to create their own mini-Reddit communities may pan out to be a game changer. We just have to wait and see to know.
13) Yelp (1.47 points)
Why? – Yelp isn’t mainstream yet, but in most major metropolitan areas, it is the place to go for information on restaurants, movie theaters, clubs, bars, gyms, and local businesses. Reviews continue to pile in and businesses have begun to react, some by improving their businesses and some with annoying blogs against Yelp. In the end, though, local businesses will simply have to develop strategies to improve their ranking on Yelp or miss out on future customers.
12) Last.fm (1.48 points)
Why? – Last.fm is the social network of music. Okay, so MySpace still rules that domain, but Last.fm’s unique radio and social networking features makes it a must-have for any audiophile. Discovering new music has never been easier, as last.fm “scrobbles” your playlist to determine new music that fits your unique tastes.
11) StumbleUpon (1.76 points)
Why? – One of the goals of almost any website is to gain traffic. StumbleUpon is one of the best ways to do just that. The social bookmarking toolbar and website continues to gobble up new users who stumble through websites and articles. StumbleUpon is the ultimate time-killer. And all the while, it drives thousands upon thousands to new and interesting websites.
10) LinkedIn (2.12 points)
Why? – LinkedIn may not be the largest of social media websites, but it is absolutely one of the most influential. LinkedIn is a must-have for almost all tech professionals. Finding new recruits, checking out the history of current ones, or searching for a new job has been changed by the LinkedIn system of degrees and contacts. It now has a valuation of over a billion dollars and it has some of the highest ad rates in the business. LinkedIn is only going to get bigger, not smaller.
9) Twitter (2.33 points)
Why? – Twitter has had a meteoric rise in the last year. The microblogging service has grown over 1300% in the last year. People clamor to gain new followers and to be conversation starters. Its API has spawned hundreds of external applications that can analyze internet trends or “tweet” from your desktop. Twitter’s downtime and architecture issues, however, have created a deep wound that has opened up a hole for competitors or could even spell the end of the microblogging era.
8) Flickr (2.49 points)
Why? – Just as YouTube revolutionized video, Flickr revolutionized photos. Only beaten by Facebook in the sheer number of photos (over 2 billion), Flickr is not only a photo hosting website, but a photo community. Flickr made it easy to send your digital photos to all of your friends or to share your work with other artists. It allows you to get critiques and it helps bloggers and website publishers find creative commons photos to reuse for the enjoyment of others. Flickr’s contribution to photo and image sharing cannot be understated.
7) WordPress (2.58 points)
Why? – WordPress’s influence goes well beyond WordPress.com – the WordPress software is installed on millions of websites. Many companies and influential bloggers use the service and its plugins to run their blogs and speak to an audience that can go up into the millions. Blogger may have made blogs popular, but WordPress made blogs better.
6) Blogger (3.02 points)
Why? – Blogger is actually the oldest website on this list, started in July of 2000. The reason I believe Blogger ranks so high on this list (higher than even WordPress, which I think is superior code-wise) is because it was a founding father of blogging. Or at least it was key to the rise of the blog. Its simple and easy-to-use interface has attracted millions of writers and millions of readers. The influence of those writers are the backbone of Blogger. It’s part of why Google bought the web service.
5) Digg (3.07 points)
Why? – Digg cannot be discounted by any blogger, website owner, or company. Its millions of users flood user-added websites and articles, sometimes even knocking them out of commission. But the traffic driver can make or break bloggers, it can bring your website attention beyond all of your expectations, and becoming popular on this social media website assures that others like Reddit or StumbleUpon will follow.
4) Facebook (3.84 points)
Why? – One of the world’s hottest tech companies, Facebook has become not only an integral part of every college student’s life, but it has become an innovation leader. Its release of News Feed sparked a wave of lifestream services. Its release of the Facebook Platform forced social networking competitors to build their own platforms for applications before they were left behind. It continues to grow at a fast pace, especially internationally. Facebook seems destined to overshadow MySpace, but will another social network uproot Facebook from its perch?
3) Wikipedia (4.58 points)
Why? – Information has been fundamentally altered by Wikipedia. Where would you learn about World War 2 before? From a textbook or from Encyclopedia Britannica. How about now? From Wikipedia. Or you could search for Sonic the Hedgehog, or George Lucas, or Michael Arrington. Information is no written and distributed by a few, but by the masses. Even if it sometimes drops in accuracy, it makes up for it by the sheer amount of information Wikipedia has brought to our lives.
2) MySpace (5.12 points)
Why? – This one shocked me slightly, but after a brief moment of disgust, I realized that MySpace does deserve such a high ranking. Why? Because it still has the largest audience of all social media websites. Because millions upon millions of impressionable kids and teenagers use it as the center of their social lives. Because those impressionable kids stare at that website for over 20 minutes per day. Because those kids are our future.
That’s a scary thought. But it remains that MySpace has been central in the lives of the Internet generation, and its influence cannot be discounted, even if it is in decline.
1) YouTube (5.53 points)
Why? – YouTube revolutionized video as we know it. Think back to ten years ago. Video basically didn’t exist on the web. People used camcorders just as a placeholder for families. The only way you could have your own show was by millions of dollars and a television station that accepted your pilot and series. No candidate feared having a “YouTube” moment.
Now? Billions of videos have been exchanged. We post funny or amazing clips everywhere. We can start our own TV show and gain a following with just a camera (i.e. Gary Vaynerchuk). Video is fundamentally different, TV is fundamentally altered, and the political, social, and economic landscapes have been shaken at their foundations by the rise of online video sharing. YouTube is the master of that domain, which is why I believe it gained the #1 ranking on this list.