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This morning I woke up to the sun shining into my room. I slowly got out of bed, made my way to the kitchen to make myself a coffee and flipped open my MacBook. Like most mornings, I began by watching hockey highlights on YouTube, posted a message on a friend’s Facebook wall and Tweeted about what I was doing. I suddenly realized that the majority of websites I visit on a daily basis are Social Media sites. Is this how most people spend their mornings? If so, are they visiting the same sites that I am? As 2009 winds down, I decided to look at the most visited Social Media sites by Canadians in the past year.

Here is my Top Ten List

Social Media Top Ten

10. Bebo

Number 10 on my list is Bebo. Similar to Facebook, Bebo is a social networking site where users create their own personal profile. On this profile, they can add friends, post comments, answer quizzes, and even express their creativity on a communal “white board”. Earlier this year, Bebo was acquired by AOL for the modest price of USD $850 million in an attempt to increase their international presence. Personally I have never used Bebo, but hey – why not give it a shot?

9. Friendster

Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2002, Friendster allows users to contact each other, post comments, upload photos and videos, discover new events, and much more. The site began to gain popularity in North America in 2005, but was overshadowed by the emergence of MySpace and Facebook. In 2009, over 90% of Friendster’s traffic came from Asia where it is by far the most popular Social Media site among teenagers. Similar to Bebo, Friendster is becoming more popular in North America after experiencing great success overseas.

8. Yahoo! Answers

Ever wondered how to make the best hash browns? Or why your dog keeps making a weird coughing sound? Go check out Yahoo! Answers. The site allows users to post questions about anything and everything. Other users can then answer the questions based on their knowledge, past experience or personal opinions. Once a question is answered, the asker can rate the answers that were given to award other users points. This is a great site because it allows people from all over the world to communicate, share ideas and help each other. And what is better than people helping people? Maybe I should post that on Yahoo! Answers….

7. Twitter

I’m not going to lie, I assumed that Twitter would be much higher on the list. After all, Toronto is the third highest Tweeting city in the World. Then again, Torontonians only represent about 15% of Canada’s total population, so they don’t speak for all of us. Anyways, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve at least heard of Twitter. Infamous for asking the question “What are you doing?” / “What’s happening?”, Twitter has quickly become one of the most popular Social Media sites not only in Canada, but Worldwide. To learn more about Twitter, read my blog post “What is Twitter?”.

6. Club Penguin

Founded by Canadians Lance Priebe and Lane Merrifield in 2005, Club Penguin is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) aimed at kids aged 6 to 14 that uses avatars, chat and minigames. The site grew very rapidly gaining 1.4 million users in the first 5 months and had reached 12 million users by 2007 when is was bought by Disney for $700 million. Club Penguin is intended to provide kids with a safe, fun Social Media alternative to other sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The site has been very well received and heralded for it’s child safety features.

5. MySpace

Yes, the site that started it all is still alive and kicking. MySpace, which was once the king of Social Media, is still quite popular among teenagers and young adults. Despite starting as a site for users to meet and interact with others, in recent years MySpace has been turned into an outlet for small, unknown bands to get their sound out there and to gain popularity. For example, in 2004 British indie rockers The Arctic Monkeys gained immense popularity through the site by posting their songs for free. The band gained a huge following on MySpace and has become an international sensation, selling millions of albums and selling out shows worldwide.

4. Windows Home Live

Building off the success of MSN Messenger, Windows Home Live has emerged as a very popular instant messaging service. A Windows Live ID gives users access to Microsoft services including MSN, Hotmail, photo sharing, Office Live, Xbox LIVE, and many more.

3. Tagged

Originally launched in 2004, Tagged was the root of numerous complaints of mass junk mail and was named by TIME magazine as “The World’s Most Annoying Website”. The site allows users to create free profiles where they can write a brief biography, upload photos, send messages, post status updates, visit chat rooms and send gifts. Although originally geared towards teenagers, Tagged has transformed into a relationship and dating site for adults where users can send “Luv” and “Wink” notifications to others as well as rate the attractiveness of other users’ photos. Sounds classy.

2. YouTube

YouTube is a free online Social Media site that allows users to upload and share videos with other users. With over a billion views every day, YouTube has emerged not only as one of the largest Social Media sites in the world, but also the 4th most visited site online in Canada. Several users have gained international fame for viral videos posted on YouTube such as Charlie from the popular “Charlie Bit Me” video or Sungha Jung, a 12-year old South Korean acoustic guitar sensation.

1. Facebook

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2009 Canadian Social Media King is…Drumroll please…Facebook! By far the most popular Social Media site in Canada, comprising almost 60% of all Social Media site visits. Furthermore, it is the most popular site in Canada, ahead of Google. The best thing about Facebook is that it comprises all of the elements of the other sites – profiles, friends, photos, videos, events, links, groups, pages, chat, status updates, games…the list goes on and on. As of December 15th 2009, 49% of Canadians over the age of 13 were Facebook users. Facebook has changed the way that people communicate, share information, and interact with others. Based on this, Facebook is undoubtedly the Social Media King of 2009.

And with that, our top ten is done. Who will be Social Media King of 2010? Will Facebook repeat as champion? Or will Twitter continue to make a push for the top spot? Maybe an entirely new site will emerge. Time will only tell.