In 2007 comic illustrator Randall Munroe created a “global map” of online communities—social media sites, blogs, etc. This past month he released an updated version on his legendary site XKCD.com, and the differences are staggering. If you’re interested in which sites have the biggest user populations, read on for more details—you might even be able to figure out where you currently “live”, where you’d like to “vacation”, and where to find the best areas for “real estate” investment.
The Digital World As We Know It
In much the same way Web 2.0 analyzes sites (see their Points of Control map), Munroe has sized his “continents” based on daily usage:
Thus we get a picture of the digital world broken down by region—bloggers get their own peninsula, YouTube gets its own island, and Justin Bieber is allotted his own body of water. The added wit is, of course, a welcome bonus—Plains of Awkwardly Public Family Interactions, the Wastedland of Unread Facebook Updates, and the Great Firewall are only a few clever titles that both inform and amuse.
More interesting, however, is the apparent evolution of the web over the last three years. Comparisons between Munroe’s 2007 rendition and his latest creation reveal a striking reduction in the size of MySpace, an almost unbelievable growth of the Facebook Empire, and the rise of potential new rivals in size (Farmville, Happy Farm, or lesser known but up-and-coming Chinese social media site QQ).
Check out the original 2007 map and see for yourself how different the current rendition is, and how each differs from other maps that have recently cropped up on the web. If you're a big enough fan, you can also purchase the XKCD map in poster size.