A couple weeks ago Ignite Social Media put together an infographic covering the current state of social networks in 2011. All the data behind this information came from Google, primarily through Google Ad Planner and Google Insight for Search.
There are the obvious results you'd expect like Facebook's dominance and the decline of MySpace, however, there are also a couple other nuggets in there that were eye-openers for me.
It's clear looking at the data that we may have finally reached a plateau when it comes to the rise of social networks but it's also very interesting to see which networks are in the top ten, broken out by gender, age and economic status. The most interesting part of this infographic to me is the rise of the microblog and content consumption management sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon. It's no mystery that there is now so much information accompanied by millions of conversations about said information that we all now realize the major need to organize all of it before our heads explode.
The rise in LinkedIn activity and membership is probably the result of a struggling economy and the fact that they've made the syndication of their content easier with a more open API.
I'm not surprised that the Ning numbers are in decline. White-label social networks were only successful before we knew how much work it took to maintain a niche social network versus just being a participating member.