How do you measure the success of a social media site? One of several ways might be how “real world” celebrities gravitate to it. By that measure, Google+ still has a long way to go versus Twitter and Facebook, according to most followed lists.
Below is a side-by-side of the top ten most followed accounts on Google+, Twitter and Facebook (click on it to enlarge):
Right now, Google+ is dominated by tech celebrities. On Twitter, not a single tech celeb makes it into the top ten. On Facebook, real world celebrities get joined by popular companies and games.
Sourcing The Stats
The figures are drawn from Google+ Statistics, Twitaholic (TwitterCounter, which I often use, had a top list with rankings in the wrong order and people missing) and a page on Facebook about the most popular Facebook pages there.
It’s not clear how that Facebook page of stats is getting or maintaining its rankings, but some spot checks showed the numbers holding up. I went with Facebook pages rather than personal accounts, as I felt they corresponded best to Google+ and Twitter accounts for comparison purposes.
Comparing Is Hard!
I wanted to look at each service and see how a top followed person on it performs on another social media site. However, that proved to be a troublesome, difficult task.
For one, it’s incredibly hard to tell if someone is “real” on any of these services. Is Lady Gaga (in the top lists of Twitter and Facebook) also on Google+? I find plenty of accounts pretending to be her, but there’s no way to know for certain. I’m pretty sure she’s not, at the moment.
Is this Leo Laporte on Facebook? No. That’s just a Wikipedia page that Facebook has turned into a Facebook page for Laporte, without his cooperation. Laporte does have a personal page, even though last year, he’d publicly closed that. I haven’t kept up on whether he reconsidered that decision, which might be the case.
Is this really Mark Zuckerberg’s “secret” account on Twitter? I’ve seen press accounts saying it is, but it also lacks the Twitter verified badge.
If we’re talking real world celebrities, actress Felicia Day is probably the closest thing in the Google+ most followed list. Her rise there seems similar to how she was a heavily followed person over at Twitter, in the days before it offered a suggested users list and before mainstream celebrities started widely participating on Twitter.
Mainstream Celebrities = Social Media Site Goes Mainstream?
In particular, one mainstream celebrity turning point was when Oprah joined Twitter in 2009. That same year, we saw Ashton Kutcher become the first person on Twitter to have one million followers. He’s still in Twitter’s top ten most followed at 7.2 million people. But at Google+, he’s currently ranked 39th, with 28,370 followers.
Kutcher is currently gaining about 1,000 people per day on Google+, according to Google+ Statistics:
If that’s maintained, Kutcher will hit the 1 million mark in about three years.
Of course, the growth rate is likely to be much different, when Google+ opens up to more users. Other factors come into play. If Google creates a suggestion tool similar to Twitter’s, that might push certain people faster.
However people wind up in the most followed list, the big picture is that you’ve got two mature social networks — Twitter and Facebook — where top followers are much more reflective of “real world” celebrities and interests than Google+. I suspect that if Google+ grows and prospers, we’ll see a similar thing happen there.
The presence of mainstream celebrities in the most followed lists is arguably one barometer of social media health, though it’s not the only one.
Indeed, LinkedIn is an incredibly popular and well used social media site where the focus on real world celebrity involvement is pretty much nil. Perhaps Google+ might evolve into its own direction, like that.