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Nielsen/NetRatings serves up July's social media numbers

The firm's latest results show that LinkedIn may be growing faster than Facebook, that YouTube is still video king, and that way too many people read TMZ.

Clearly, social-networking metrics are the new black. It seems like just about everyone wants to know whether Facebook will pass MySpace--or whether there are any trendy, fast-moving start-ups that you ought to be monitoring so that you can start up a profile and amass a healthy friends list before it gets too trendy.

Last month, ComScore released numbers pertaining to social networking's worldwide growth. Now, Nielsen/NetRatings' PR team has released its latest set of figures that track how quickly the top social-networking sites are growing. The results are divided into three different categories of social media: social networks, blogs (and blog platforms) and video sites.

It looks like Nielsen has tweaked its criteria over the past month, because the lists are strikingly different from analogous ones it released for June: in those, sites like YouTube and Blogger were included among social-networking sites as well as in the "top blogs" and "top video sites" categories. It made for a rather confusing list, seeing as you had TypePad alongside Facebook under the "social networking" umbrella. Now, it looks like the main social-networking site list consists exclusively of community sites.

A couple of the names on the July list are riding the word-of-mouth wave: kiddie network Club Penguin, for example, was just purchased by Disney; is rumored to be heading for an IPO; and newcomer Buzznet, a music-based site, is just making its debut. Facebook, of course, is on the rise, but interestingly enough the results indicate that LinkedIn has grown twice as fast over the past year.

The aforementioned second category, "top blogs," is still a little bit confusing because it does indeed include destination blogs (like, Perez Hilton, and Engadget) and the major blog host platforms like Six Apart's TypePad and Google's Blogger. So there's a little bit of disconnect, but it does give you the gist of things: Xanga's shrinking, WordPress is growing fast, and way too many people read Perez Hilton and TMZ at the office. But we knew all that already.

Then there's the third list, of top video sites. In the top spot is (who else?) YouTube, followed by the MySpace video platform in its older form. I'm guessing that the new MySpaceTV portal hasn't been around for nearly long enough to be included in the figures. Also in the rankings are the corresponding video portals for major tech hubs' home pages (AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft) as well as big-media-backed start-ups like video-sharing site Veoh and comedy site Funny Or Die.

Update 12:20 p.m. PDT: The headline on table No. 3 says "June 2007" but those figures are in fact for July.

Don't you just love statistics?