Top 10 Social Media
01 - Facebook
For proving the social web can’t survive without it. From a suite of music and news partnerships to a beautiful new timeline that archives users’ lives, Facebook’s making sure we’re spending more time than ever on the network: one in every seven minutes online, to be exact. Facebook earned $1 billion in profits on $3.7 billion in 2011 revenue, and its long-awaited IPO will be the biggest in tech-company history (three times as much as Google’s). READ MORE
02 - LinkedIn
For turning a professional network into a can’t-miss destination. Last March, the 100 million-member professional networking site launched LinkedIn Today, a social news reader whose algorithm culls from what people on your LinkedIn social graph are sharing to only deliver the most relevant, interesting stories for you. Explains CEO Jeff Weiner, "Our mission is to enable members to find their dream jobs, but it’s also about being great at the job you’re already in." READ MORE
03 - Tumblr
For making good-looking blogs easy to make and for becoming a de facto tool for traditional magazines and newspapers. Tumblr is popular and only getting more so. Its 30 million blogs now get 13 billion pageviews per month, compared to 2 billion at the beginning of 2011. The minimalist blogging platform is used by amateur bloggers and massive media outlets alike, appealing to users who like its simple and well-designed aesthetic choices. It has become such a phenomenon and creator of phenomena that it recently hired its own curators to surface the best stuff on the platform. In September 2011 Tumblr announced it had raised $85 million in venture capital funding, giving the company an estimated valuation of $800 million.
04 - Disqus
For being the talk of Internet talk. The comments service now powers 1.2 million websites, 73% of those with third-party comment systems (including Fast Company) that generate 700 million unique visitors a month. Last May, it closed a $10 million funding round and added an @mention feature that’s pulling in users from both Disqus and Twitter into 10% of all comments, making it easier than ever for new voices to join existing conversations. And that little thing known as Facebook’s commenting widget hasn’t slowed Disqus down: This year, it saw 500% growth across traffic, users, and client sites to reach the staggering 141 monthly unique U.S. visitors that make Disqus the country’s No. 1 network.
05 - UberMedia
For keeping Twitter on its toes. In February 2011, Twitter briefly shut down several of UberMedia’s Twitter dashboards for violating policy before reinstating them days later. Three months later, Twitter shelled out $40 million to acquire TweetDeck in a defensive move to prevent UberMedia, who had made an earlier offer, from controlling 17% of all tweets. But UberMedia’s doing just fine without TweetDeck: Its users generate 12% of all tweets, and in October, it launched Chime.in, a Twitter-esque interests network.
06 - American Express
For iterating like a startup. Last March, AmEx announced Serve, a PayPal-like mobile platform that lets users send and store money, without funneling it through banks. More recently, it launched a new deals platform that automatically credits users’ statements (as opposed to making store clerks take coupons) and offers in-depth analytics to retailers.
07 - Waze
For its simple, brilliant application of crowdsourcing: providing turn-by-turn GPS navigation for fellow drivers. But Waze’s 10 million users—1.5 million of which joined in December 2011 alone—aren’t just looking out for themselves. Waze users filed more than 25 million road reports in 2011 to give other drivers a heads-up about traffic jams or accidents. In February, it added its own voice-control feature to make it more useful for drivers on the road.
08 - Yammer
For becoming the Facebook of business. The enterprise social network, which tripled users and sales in 2011, now powers the professional social scene at more than 200,000 companies (including 85% of the Fortune 500) with 4 million users. In 2011, it also introduced a native iPad app and Yammer Connect, which can integrate Yammer into a company’s intranet or content-management system.
09 - Formspring
For asking (and answering) all the right questions. The Q&A service encourages people to ask questions of everyone from friends to celebrities to strangers with similar interests. Its 28 million users have logged more than 4 billion answers since it started in 2009. In November, Formspring introduced an interests feature that allows users to follow specific topics, which paves the way for brands to purchase AdSense-style targeted ads. "We have a lot of possibility to connect brands and advertisers with users in a way that’s engaging to users but doesn’t feel like advertising," says founder Ade Olonoh.
10 - Intel
For being a tech giant who knows how to play the social media game. In June, Intel launched a mesmerizing—albeit slightly creepy—Facebook app called The Museum of Me, which visualizes your social life (it has more than 86,000 "Likes" to date). Then it partnered with Toshiba on a "social film" project that let viewers use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to decide what happened in the film. Intel also debuted some sophisticated social tracking chops with its "Social Cockpit" at 2012’s Consumer Electronics Show, where it brought social chatter to the fore by tracking the trade show’s buzz across the web in real-time.