The 18 Most Popular Social Networks In 2023
To paraphrase our article on the best tools for managing social networks – calm down, Jean-Michel, it is not plagiarism when you plagiarize yourself – social networks are to the entrepreneur what the terrace of the Floor is for young writers… It is good to be seen there. You know it if you come here regularly: at Tool Advisor, we are not big fans of social networks… However, that does not prevent us from seeing the interest they can have in a company.
When we read that there are 4.76 billion coconuts (social network users, the figure comes from the Digital Report 2023 carried by We Are Social and Meltwater) around the world, we say there are still opportunities to be seized. So to better understand the “social media” landscape, as we say across the Atlantic, here is the list of the most popular social networks in 2023. Happy reading (or “enjoy your reading” to stay across the Atlantic)!
What Is A Social Network? Our Definition
Do you see the Loch Ness Monster? This creature that we seek at the bottom of a Scottish lake but of which, after years of underwater expeditions, we still have not seen a toe (and of which, moreover, we do not even know if she has toes? Well, the definition of the social network is the same: it is almost mythological and, above all, untraceable!
Well, it is true; we distort reality a bit for the love of metaphor… However, the truth is that there are so many different definitions that it is challenging to navigate and find one that is “the official definition”. Our definition would be as follows: a social network is a digital platform (website and mobile application) that allows users to create a profile and exchange around shared interests. It is a digital version of the community, a concept that has existed since dawn, even before we consider dinosaurs forming a community.
However, this definition needs to be revised about what the platforms offer as possibilities to Internet users today: a single social network allows both to communicate, discover, learn, be informed, and work… Moreover, the list is long! Platforms no longer have a social objective: they are protean, bring together networks of friends “in real life” and people who do not know each other, and are used both in a personal and professional context… In short, they are tentacular, like the Loch Ness monster (probably, since we still do not know if it has tentacles or toes).
Social Networks And Social Media, What Is The Difference?
If you have ever done a Google search on the subject, you have probably seen the term “social media” come up. For us, it is the hair in the soup of confusion around what a social network is: it sows discord by adding difficulty to understanding! Social networks are part of social media, including blogging platforms, discussion forums, wikis, and corporate networks… In short, all collaborative spaces create links.
The particularity of social networks is their primary purpose, which is to connect users and to create – as their name suggests – the network, which is not necessarily that of all social media. We must admit that by writing this, we always find the boundary between the two concepts very, very fine … But we still hope that we have made you understand the subtlety.
The 18 Most Popular Social Networks
To start, you will find below a ranking of the most used social networks worldwide. Yes, the principle of the table is basic… However, we are convinced it is the best way to make the data understandable. So yes… We also wondered what WhatsApp, Messenger and Telegram were doing in this ranking because they are closer to instant messaging than a social network, but we trust Statista.
Focus On The Typologies Of Social Networks
Because there is nothing more effective for having an overview than to classify the information into prominent families, we decided to do a little sorting in this list of social networks. Yes, we are a bit like the Mr Clean of the Internet at Tool Advisor… Moreover, that is a source of pride!
General Social Networks
Regarding Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, we speak of generalist social networks because of the diversity of shared content and the demographics of users. Facebook is a good example, since the platform has managed the feat of bringing together almost all generations. We therefore met both his 85-year-old grandmother and his 15-year-old nephew!
Certainly, these social networks claim what makes them special – Twitter its messages limited to 280 characters, Snapchat its ephemeral photos and videos , etc. –, but they still have in common to reach a fairly large audience… Moreover, we talk about everything (and also about anything)!
Professional Social Networks
They are so called because they are intended for exclusively professional use: we detail the position we hold, our training and skills, we share our projects, and we even find job offers, as on an ordinary job board. If only one professional social network had to be retained today, it would be LinkedIn, as the platform has eclipsed its competitors.
We do not want to seem unpleasant, but if you rely on JDN Viadeo to be visible as a professional, you will not risk being overwhelmed by opportunities right away… As for Xing, we only recommend him if you are looking for a position in Germany , where he enjoys a sound leadership position.
Social Networks Specializing In Video Sharing
YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, TikTok and Douyin have made video their specialty. Still, the trend is towards video in general: on Instagram, for example, “reels” – videos of 90 seconds maximum – are enormously favored by the algorithm. Moreover, according to a study by Agorapulse, the most posted format on Instagram is the photo…
While videos are (by far) the format that generates the most engagement. Is this due to our intellectual laziness – watching a video is much easier than reading a text – or to the fact that we are more sensitive to characters who move, speak, and are embodied? Mystery and rubber ball, but we understand why publishers are turning to video!
“Unknown” Social Networks
The term is here in parentheses insofar as they are only part of the globe: we mean social networks that are very well known in China and Russia but generally less known to Western users. For China, we can cite the WeChat and QQ messaging apps, the Doujin video-sharing app (none other than the Chinese version of TikTok developed by the same publisher), or the Sina Weibo microblogging platform. On the Russian side, the must-see VKontakte claims more than 100 million active users – which is too few to appear in our top 19 but enough to be the largest social network in Europe.
Social Messaging Networks
We talked about WeChat above, but we must also mention WhatsApp, the world’s third most used social network, Messenger or Telegram, which makes data protection its main marketing argument. These apps meet a simple need: to communicate with anyone around the world, to send messages and photos, or make video calls, which is possible when you have an internet connection.
Social Networks For News, Inspiration And General Culture
We must admit that we did not know what to call it… However, a typology of social networks based on microblogging allows users to exchange topical themes or general culture. We can notably cite Quora, which works as questions and answers, Reddit, which claims to be a social network allowing Internet users “to immerse themselves” in what interests them; or even Medium to write and share texts.
Like Pinterest, which is more of a platform for inspiration, these three apps oscillate so much between the social network and the blogging social media that they confirm how thin the border between the two is! Furthermore, they can also be helpful as a content curation tool when interested in a particular subject.
Social Networks In 3 Impressive Figures
To end this article in style, we want to give you some figures on social networks so that you get an idea of the extent of their use.
59.4% Of The World’s Population Uses Social Networks (Digital Report, 2023)
In the introduction, we told you that social networks today have 4.76 billion users… This represents 59.4% of the world’s population or more than half of humanity! We do not know about you; we find it HUGE (so immense that we want to write it in capitals).
We Use 7.2 Different Platforms Every Month (Digital Report, 2023)
Another quite edifying figure – yes, we use strong words –: the world population uses no less than 7.2 social platforms monthly. This testifies to our incredible ability to multitask (yes, this verb does not exist in French, what are you going to do?) or the fact that we like wasting time. We, the production team, know which side we are on…
We Spend The Equivalent Of A Day On YouTube Every Month (Digital Report, 2023)
Almost a day, precisely 11:09 p.m., is the average cumulative time Internet users spend on YouTube. We had said, “Impressive”… We have a bit of a mouthful. If our first instinct is to calculate the number of days lost on YouTube during a lifetime, we also think about the opportunity they represent from a business point of view. If you still need proof that social networks are helpful for anyone who wants to make themselves visible, highlight a product or service or advertise, here it is!
- Digital Report 2023 (by We Are Social and Meltwater)
- Agorapulse (with PlayPlay, and I have a friend in the com)