Generational Considerations

When considering social media trends across the United States, it’s fascinating to acknowledge that “social media” is still a relatively new concept and term. It only became a thing on the internet in 1997 with the launch of the social network service SixDegrees. Now, there are hundreds of social networking sites, blogs, and video platforms that shape the social landscape. Of these hundreds of websites, roughly eight dominate the internet.

The difference in social-media usage between generations makes it extremely difficult to determine which social site is the most popular overall. For instance, a recent study found that only thirty-seven percent of people over the age of sixty-five use social media. Meanwhile, eighty-eight percent of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine maintain a steady social media presence with which they interact with others on a daily basis. In short, younger generations have the most impact on photo-sharing websites.


Top Players

While Facebook may be losing traction among teenagers, nearly eighty percent of all adults have an account with the platform, thereby making it the most widely used social media site among adults. In the fifteen years that Facebook has existed on the internet, it has accumulated roughly 1.6 billion monthly users. Unsurprisingly, Instagram and Twitter come in a close second to Facebook. Over four hundred million users ‘gram their photos daily and tweet personal updates. Statistically speaking, these kinds of sites appeal to a younger demographic. Only thirty-two percent of adults have registered accounts with Instagram and Twitter.

Social networking for professionals and businesses has also dominated the internet through websites like LinkedIn and Google+, which help connect users to other industry professionals or companies of interest. Both of the aforementioned websites also have over four hundred million users.

Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, and WhatsApp receive honorable mentions among their large-scale social competitors. These sites focus on how they can connect to you where sites like Facebook and Twitter primarily focus on how you can connect to others. With Pinterest, you can find designs you like and “pin” them for later, you fall down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories on Reddit. Unlike their competitors, these sites aim to connect with the user’s desire to learn and explore rather than share.


How Social Media Benefits Businesses

Both small and big businesses use social media to increase their audience, connect with clients, and seek out potential work. It is vital for a company to have, at the very minimum, a LinkedIn page and a Facebook account that provide quick summaries of their services, office hours, and telephone numbers. Companies are rapidly embracing YouTube and Vimeo as a means of showcasing their talent. It’s a place where clients can view the company’s work in a commercial-like setting other than television.

From photo-sharing sites to professional networking platforms, social media has come a long way since its inception in 1997. It can further develop a brand, reconnect old friends, or encourage creativity through photo-sharing or interactive content. In its twenty-one years of life, it has dominated the internet and will seemingly continue to do so as new sites develop at a rapid pace. As the landscape broadens, the question will remain: which site will stay on top?

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