There's no doubting the popularity and Facebook, nor the incredible rate at which Facebook members consume their various status updates. However, Facebook's dominance is not on a worldwide scale, as some regions of the globe -- for instance, China's territory -- have a preference for other social media platforms.
While such facts are well known by people who follow the social media industry, actually seeing such use mapped out provides an entirely new perspective. Thanks to the efforts of Ian Wojtowicz, a visual arts student, we now know what the lack of Facebook use looks like on a global scale. Wojtowicz' work was featured at FlowingData.com, and it's an ingenious method of extrapolating and visualizing data about Facebook's use.
The map, which leads this article, was developed by mashing up NASA's earth at night map with Facebook's friendship map. The results are not only nice to look at, but they are also quite revealing as well. Before that, however, here's a description of Wojtowicz' legend.
Quite simply, the darker regions are active with Facebook use, while the yellow dots represent non-Facebook use. Feel free to enlarge the map by clicking on it, but, be warned, the larger map is almost four megabytes in size. Keep that in mind if you have a slow Internet connection:
Remember, the yellow dots represent non-Facebook use.
What did we learn from Wojtowicz' map? China, among other regions, is not a Facebook-friendly area. The social media network of choice for China's citizens is RenRen.com. The lack of Facebook use in China only makes sense when you consider the iron-clad grip with which the flow of information is controlled. Not only does China eschew Facebook, but so does a large portion of the Asian continent.
In Russia, VKontakte is the social network of choice, and it apparently owes a great deal of credit to the Facebook designers, which it liberally borrows from, down to the almost the exact same shade of blue. According to a comScore report from 2009, VKontakte had 14 million users, a number that has undoubtedly increased in the two years since the report was published.
The preference for VKontakte also demonstrates why Facebook usage is so low in what was once known as the Soviet Union.
Another area where yellow dots -- non-Facebook use -- is strong is in Brazil. The social media outlet of choice in that region, an area well known for its widespread social media use, is Google's Orkut. With that in mind, who says Google can't develop a successful social media network?
Are there an areas that surprise you by their lack of Facebook use? Can Facebook make in-roads to these areas, well, maybe not China, but what about Russia and Brazil? Let us know what you think.