XKCD artist Randall Monroe has updated his Map of Online Communities to reflect how the volume of social activity has changed around the Internet since the original map was created back in 2007.
The massive map compares the size of different communities on the web, based on the number of people who visit. The original map displays a giant MySpace and Facebook about the same size as LiveJournal. Now, LiveJournal has been relegated to a tiny island off the southern shores of Twitter while Facebook takes up a huge portion of the map.
Communities rise and fall, and total membership numbers are no longer a good measure of a community’s current size and health. This updated map uses size to represent total social activity in a community – that is, how much talking, playing, sharing, or other socializing happens there. This meant some comparing of apples and oranges, but I did my best and tried to be consistent.
Estimates are based on the best numbers I could find, but involved a great deal of guesswork, statistical inference, random sampling, nonrandom sampling, a 20,000-cell spreadsheet, emailing, cajoling, tea-leaf reading, goat sacrifices, and gut instinct. (i.e. making things up.)
Sources of data include Google and Bing, Wikipedia, Alexa, Big-Boards.com, StumbleUpon, WordPress, Akismet, every website statistics page I could find, press releases, news articles, and individual site employees. Thanks in particular to folks at last.fm, LiveJournal, Reddit, and the New York Times, as well as sysadmins at a number of sites who shared statistics on condition of anonymity.
A poster of the 2010 Map of Online Communities measuring about 81cm by 94cm (32 x 37 inches) can be purchased over at the XKCD Store for $15 plus shipping. A bundle with the 2007 map is also available for $20.