Folks at Pingdom, a company that monitors Web site and server performance, published a pretty interesting post recently about the global interest in social networks across the Web. Using Google's insights tool, they were able to uncover the geographical locations where social networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi5 and LinkedIn were being searched.
When living in the US, we have the tendency to think that our Internet market must be ahead of others in terms of size and usage, but a quick look at the ranks Pingdom has compiled, along with the Universal McCann's 2008 social media study, reveals a vary dynamic hierarchy across social network popularity. For instance, most of the searches for LinkedIn come from India, Holland and Denmark. The US follows Belgium in the fifth spot.
I initially thought India's dominance may be due to the sheer size of its population of professionals. Then I noticed that Israel, which has a significantly smaller population than India, ranked seventh in the list. To a large extent, online social networks are reflections of offline connections and cultures. Especially on LinkedIn, initial contacts are made with people whom you have met offline. It seems that Indian professionals are quite busy tracing their offline contacts on the Internet and raising social capital.