Lifestreaming by numbers

Lifestreaming and microblogging – both tend to overlap as most lifestream services allow for short status messages and most microblogs or activity streams allow feeding RSS feeds into them – are becoming more and more common in the social web. Some argue that Twitter is increasingly being challenged by other services like Friendfeed, Plurk or identi.ca. Do the numbers reflect this? Let’s take a closer look.

First, I took Alexa‘s numbers for the webpages’ reach (see here). Because the yesterday values were not available for every webpage, I took the weekly average. I calculated the relative values for each lifestreaming service and got the following picture:

Twitter’s strong position should be evident. I found it quite interesting that SocialMedian achieved such a strong position, coming up directly after FriendFeed and Plurk. But of course the numbers being so small, they are clearly not reliable. This holds for all numbers in this post. Lifestreaming may spread, but it is not used by enough internet users to allow for reliable measurement. And the numbers for active users don’t seem to be available for the services. It would be interesting to compare them as well.

The values from Google Trends for websites show a quite similar picture (see here):

Twitter has the most traffic while FriendFeed and Plurk are not very far apart. The other lifestream services are only marginally important. For Jaiku there are no numbers because it is a Google service.

Finally, I compared those two charts with the values obtained by Quantcast (see here):

Here, Twitter has the largest share while Plurk is very weak, compared with the Alexa and Google numbers.

All in all, the fail whale nonwithstanding, Twitter still seems to be the number one service when it comes to streaming your life to the internet.

But with major social networks like Facebook or Xing offering the same features, there could be new competitors for Twitter, FriendFeed and Plurk. But this competition does not express itself in traffic numbers, so this will be quite a challenge for social media measurement.

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