Let’s start with the numbers. As of April of this year, over 4.5 billion people use the internet, with more than 3.8 billion people actively using social media. This is over a 9% increase from last year. Of the 3.8 billion people who use social media, 2.6 billion people use Facebook monthly, with 1.73 billion people logging on daily. Facebook continues to be the leading social media platform, surprise to no one. While Facebook is the highest used platform, Instagram is the highest growing platform; the only app downloaded more is YouTube. One billion people use Instagram on a monthly basis, while 500 million people use Instagram Stories every single day. Stories have definitely increased the appeal of Instagram, especially for the younger generations – Gen Z and Millennials. Lastly, we’ll look at Twitter – 330 million people log on at least once a month, while 145 million people use the app daily.
Now that we’ve gone over the statistics, let’s take a look at where we’re really at. There are so, so, so many factors that play into how and why social media has exploded this year. Technology advances each year, we all know this; it’s 2020 now, so, of course, technology is at an all-time high. More than that, though, 2020 is an election year, it’s at the forefront of the BLM movement, and it’s also the first time in our lives that we’ve had to live through a pandemic. That’s where our focus will lie today.
COVID-19 broke out in China in December of 2019. It vastly spread through Asia and Europe and then made its way into the United States. This pandemic spread fast; I mean, it is a pandemic after all. I, personally, found out more about Coronavirus on Twitter and Facebook than I did on the news. Keep in mind that I am a Millennial so you’ll catch me watching E! News more than any “real” outlet, but I digress. I would have to say that a majority of people around my age did, too – you know, the whole Millennial thing, again. Statistics, rules, guidelines, etc. replaced sporting events, memes, and more in no time. Shortly after this pandemic started to blow up, we, and most of the country, went remote. We turned our weekly in-person meetings into Zoom meetings; our reporting meetings became reporting calls; our calls became emails. This all happened because the nation was under quarantine.
Quarantine canceled restaurants, movie theaters, and even hanging out with friends and family. Sure, some people baked banana bread every day and others read those books they never had time to before, but most of America (and the world) upped their time online. Facebook saw a 27% increase during the quarantine period, YouTube saw over a 15% increase, and Netflix had 16% more daily viewers. Traditional social media platforms all saw an increase during the coronavirus pandemic, but that’s just the beginning.
When you are only able to physically see the people you live with, if you’re not counting the random strangers at the grocery store, you want to video chat more. Those are just facts. Video apps and websites like Houseparty, Google Duo, and more saw an enormous increase during this time period. Yes, video apps are considered social media, especially since the “social” part of our lives has been gone for some time now.
It’s pretty crazy to think that we are living through a worldwide pandemic. Yes, things like this have happened before – see the Great Depression in the late 1920s to early 1930s – but a global phenomenon in 2020 just hits different. We are still able to video chat with our friends and family, we are able to work from home (for many industries, luckily ours is included), and we are able to get our daily news from more than just hearsay. This is all thanks to social media. So, on World Social Media Day, take a few minutes and think about what social media has brought to your life – is it the ability to get news at any time? What about your undying love for memes? Do you still get to video chat with your mom who lives 3 states away? Maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it may be, take some time to really appreciate what we have in 2020 and how much of it is due to incredible technological advances and the amazing but oftentimes hated, social media. Drop us a comment on how social has changed your life.