- 1.21.11 - 9:00AM
- - by
- Joshua Heller
Foreign Social Networks - What the World Uses Instead of Facebook
You know that time in Mexico when you fell in love with a Dutch national? Your romance lasted only a few weeks, but you wanted to stay in touch, so you Facebooked one another. Then you returned home, and discovered that your lover was never online.
Thoughts flashed through your mind: maybe it was just a fling...maybe I should have gone with them to Guatemala...maybe I did something to make them hate me...noooooooo!!!!???
1. HyvesBut maybe... they're just not on Facebook because in Holland they have Hyves.
Facebook hasn't permeated every crevice of every country. In the Netherlands, Facebook is only used by 20% of the population; while Hyves is used by 68% of the population. With 16 million users Hyves has become the country's predominant social network.
There are various factors to Hyves success, but I believe it beat out Facebook because of its vast collection of smileys.
Let's take a look at more of the world's social networking sites.
2. MixiThe Japanese flock to Mixi. The site has many of the same features as Facebook, but requires a Japanese cell phone. I don't have a Japanese cell phone, so I only got as far as the login page.
According to this page, Mixi looks great for girls texting each other from one foot away, women looking longingly into coffee mugs, and people who love collecting three-leaf clovers.
3. tuentiThis is a Spanish social network with nearly 8 million users. Tuenti is short for "tu entidad" - "your entity" but many just call it "the Spanish Facebook." You can tell that Tuenti is a sassy social network because its logo is a winking emoticon. ;)
4. FaceKooThis Chinese social network has 1 million users. "FaceKoo" is derived from the words "face" and "koo." FaceKoo developed proprietary face-recognition software to connect users, which let's face it, is pretty koo.
5. MuxlimMuxlim is a social network for Muslims living in Muslim-minority countries. It was developed in Finland and now has millions of users all over the world.
In February 2010 it won the "Tasavallan Presidentin Kansainvälistymispalkinto." An impressive feat. Can you even think of another social network that won the "The Internationalization Award of the President of Finland?"
6. V KontakteThere are over 102 million users in the former Soviet Union. The site is great if you like Facebook, because it's nearly an exact replica. V Kontakte is very user friendly, even if you don't speak Russian...
Users love "Odno" even if its features are not up to date.
"I know that Facebook is better but I've got used to the situation in Odnoklassniki and I'll leave it only if the site itself will be closed" says Ana Gorgidze, a Georgian user.
The site is particularly popular for users in Tblisi, Georgia.
(Tell that to your journalist friends. When they're searching for user-generated content on the next South Ossetia war, Onoklassniki will be a better tool than Facebook.)
8. OrkutOrkut is a service created by Google. It didn't do well in the United States but took off in India and Brazil. Orkut has more than 100 million active users.
The site is named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten. Wouldn't the site be cooler if it were just named Büyükkökten? (The answer is: yes.)
9. FriendsterFriendster is that time machine that remembers everything about you from 2004. Now 90% of the site's 115 million users come from Asia. Friendster is tenacious because it miserably failed many times, but now it's totally killing it in the Philippines.
10. CloobThere is a secret society that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not want you to know about. His government has censored the "Iranian Virtual Society."
Cloob initially developed a user-base because Tehran censored Orkut... now the government has censored Cloob. This ban means that a million users will miss out on some really cool animated gifs, who's birthday it is, and virtual money called "Coroob."
11. ibiboIbibo is an Indian social network. Ibibo is short for "I Build, I Bond." Users build and bond over social games like "The Great Indian Parking Wars" and "Mumbai Underworld." This is the future of Facebook if Farmville gets its way.
QZone is a Chinese service with 200 million users. It lets users write blog posts, send photos, and listen to music. A user can even customize their own background!
The site is not entirely free. To access all features you'll have to drop some cash and unlock the "Canary Diamond." I'm not really sure what that does, but its an incredible name for a pop supergroup.
Being a world citizen today no longer means having hundreds of friends on Facebook. Now it means gaining hundreds of contacts on Hyves, Mixi, tuenti, FaceKoo, Muxlim, V Kontakte, Odnoklassniki, Orkut, Friendster, Cloob, ibibo, and QZone.
Once we are on the rest of the world's social networks, we'll be able to truly realize world peace.
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