Top social media sites of 2010, according to Time Magazine

Time Magazine released its list of top 50 websites for 2010 yesterday, featuring what the magazine rates as the top online properties in a range of categories from news, health, education, games and social media.

In the social media category, Time reckons the top five sites for 2010 are Gowalla, Foodspotting, LinkedIn, StockTwits, and Tumblr.

Gowalla, says Time is a “more fun” Foursquare. Like Foursquare, Gowalla lets you “check in” to real-world places using your smart phone, and the site plots your location on a map for friends to discover.

Few would disagree with Tumblr’s inclusion on the list. Tumblr has brought back some class to blogging via the service’s rigid, but beautiful templates and smooth fonts. Quite simply, Tumblr marks a refreshing change from a digital world that is rapidly filling up with cheap, crap content. It’s a service fighting the “Geocitification” of the modern web.

LinkedIn says Time is somewhere “in between a formal business lunch and the irritating Facebook friend request”. It’s the business social network that seems to be quietly getting better and better — and without the incessant overhype of Facebook or Twitter. It’s where your business persona hangs out. It’s also the great undercover job-hunting platform (although no-one likes to admit it).

StockTwits although innovative, is arguably a controversial inclusion. The site, says Time, is a “by-product of all that financial chatter on Twitter”. Instead of tracking stock movements, it tracks the ongoing discussion around each stock. You find someone whose advice you trust, and then add them to a watch list and get a real-time stream of investing insight. Clever — but we’re not entirely sure how many people will entrust their important financial decisions to a collection of tweets?

FoodSpotting is another relative unknown. Time reckons this site “combines the location awareness of Gowalla with the food fetish of a restaurant critic, letting diners update and share on-the-spot reviews and photos of every restaurant they hit”.

In the “news and info” category, the in-vogue Guardian website receives recognition. The site is a regular Webby Award winner too. There is also a place for WikiLeaks, the anonymous document repository that has been in the headlines recently. That hysterically witty satirical site The Onion also gets a nod.

It’s an incomplete list with many holes, but with some interesting inclusions. Critics will wonder why FourSquare didn’t make the cut; or why Facebook and Twitter didn’t quite make it either. Remember those sites?

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