Pinterest gets Facebook’s Attention

It seems like new social networks are popping up on a daily basis. New sites such as Get Lunched and Social Live are looking to serve an audience that is looking for a more personal online experience that general social networks like Facebook and Twitter can’t deliver. “Social Live is guided by a philosophy of building genuine online relationships, where quality over quantity is the watchword, and user privacy is paramount,” the company recently stated in a press release.

While these new ventures are still in their infancy, Pinterest, a virtual pinboard, has made some real headway in the last year. According to web analytics firm Compete, unique visitor counts for the site have jumped from 119,767 in February 2011 to 11,140,641 in February 2012.

Unique Visitors: February 2011- February 2012 

Social media buzz about Pinterest has followed a similar trajectory. Using Infegy’s Social Radar, we found that the number of online mentions about the social network grew from 214,874 in February 2011 to over 16 million in February 2012.

Total Posts: February 2011-February 2012

Source: ORC International

Sentiment for the social network is also very positive. In that last year, sentiment for Pinterest has been 92% positive, while just 6% of mentions have been negative

Sentiment: February 2011-February 2012

Source: ORC International

The rise of Pinterest has certainly piqued Facebook’s interest. In fact, on March 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, announced the addition of Friendsheet, an app that competes directly with Pinterest’s bulletin board style.

Friendsheet

Pinterest

Interestingly, the growing popularity of Pinterest–as well as the proliferation of new, more niche, social networks–comes at a time when Facebook’s U.S. growth is expected to slow down. Data released by market research firm eMarketer suggests that 2012 will be the first year Facebook’s user base will grow by single digits (6.6%). This is in stark contrast to 2010 and even 2011 when the leading social network’s user base grew by 38.6% and 13.4%, respectively.

So does a slow down for Facebook leave room for new social networks to thrive? Only time will tell if any of the new players can grab significant market share from the largest social network on the planet. However, new statistics from The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project–which show that in 2011, more Facebook users unfriended someone, untagged photos and deleted comments than in 2009– suggest that people may be ready for a more private social networking experience.

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Categories: Social Networks

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