Skip to main content

Hyves: the value of local social networks

by Chris Mead | 17.10.2012
Hi everyone, my name’s Chris (if you hadn’t noticed already) and I’ve just joined Tug as a Social Media executive. It would only seem fitting then that I share my ideas and thoughts on social with you weekly.

To begin, I want to quickly introduce you to the power of local social networks which are often overlooked due to the popularity of Facebook and Twitter. The Netherlands, a country I’ve lived in most of my life, boasts a prime example of a social network that many outside the country may not have heard of: Hyves.

Hyves (as in bee hive), launched in September of 2004, and quickly grew to become the number one social network in the Netherlands – proving more popular than the likes of MySpace and Friendster at the time. With Facebook’s dominance spreading globally, the social network giant only surpassed Hyves in users within the Netherlands mid June 2011.

Yet despite its drop, Hyves still boasts healthy membership and activity, with 9.8million users (that’s nearly 60% of the population) based in the Netherlands. It also excels in traffic, coming in as the most searched Dutch internet website in 2011. The question many ask is why didn’t it share the same fate of other social networks?

Hyves adapted well to Facebook’s popularity by focusing on areas other than networking, weather, polls and has become a daily social hub for users. Rather than letting its core demographic( most probably Generation Y users) dwindle, it has been able to attract new members both young and old.

The image below displays the most popular social networks across the globe per country. What’s clear overall is that while Facebook is the dominant force, the significance and value of localised social networks should not be underestimated.