If you look at the internet in real time here - It will blow your mind to witness that every hour there are 240,001,200 Likes on Facebook. 3,960,000 new photos on Instagram. 14,400 New Users on Tumblr. 43,200 new bookings on Airbnb. 6,001,200 files shared on Dropbox.
Per day 2 billion photos are snapped on Snapchat, 499,996,800 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, 5 billion video views on YouTube, and 10,022,400 Uber rides are rode.
Per month there are 47 billion Google searches, 780,192,000 matches on Tinder, 71,280,000 Bitcoin sent, and 64,800,000 downloads on Pokémon Go. That is an incredible amount of continuous activity.
Due to the enormity of the expanse of social networks (it’s over 2 billion now from 900,000 in 2010), it’s no surprise that social media is undergoing a “spillover” effect into other avenues. The spillover effect is a mechanism where sectorial integration in one area has knock-on effects in others, thereby increasing the scope of integration. We are seeing this already in several areas.
Disrupting the Newsrooms
The first and perhaps most strong and obvious area is in the news realm. A study from Reuters claims that two-thirds of American adults are getting “at least some of their news on social media” with two-in-ten doing so often. About 67 percent of American adults somewhat rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat for news, the survey showed, compared with 62 percent in 2016. For the first time in the Centre’s surveys, the research also found that 55 percent of Americans adults over 50 were consuming news on social media sites, up from 45 percent in 2016. Indeed, in 2016 Social Media overtook Television as young people’s main source of news. As such Facebook and other media outlets have moved beyond being “places of news discovery” to become the place people regularly consume their news.
The health industry has identified social media as a, particularly good avenue to conduct public health campaigns in order to raise awareness about certain issues. Patients with similar debilitating conditions can reach out and engage with each other to ease the pain. Furthermore, Skype has enabled the possibility for virtual doctor’s visits.
Much has been made of the Cambridge Analytica scandal due to our data being harvested for political gain, but social media has also been a positive force for political engagement. Rallies and events can be well organised on sites such as Facebook. Plus many online petitions get shared on social media – such as the UK petition to stop U.S. President Donald Trump from entering the UK which got 1.8 million digital signatures, many from sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Ultimately social media has helped drive civic participation to higher levels. Politicians are engage with their constituents at push of a button. As with Trump, he can convey his thoughts to the masses on demands via Twitters 140 characters. A new political phrase has even been created: Twitter Diplomacy.
Social Media provides an in-time disaster response. People nearby the location can affirm that they are safe or not, and local heroes can attempt to come to the rescue.
Why You Should be Using Social Media
Since social media first burst onto the scene it has been completely free to use. Not only was it free for individuals, but also for businesses and groups as well, indiscriminately. It seemed unfathomable than that there would be such an appetite to drive something like Facebook to literally billions of users. With a potential market place of over a billion consumers, it seems crazy to think that this resource is still completely free, and crazier still, that there are still some businesses that aren’t taking advantage of this truly modern gift.
60% of the world’s population still does not have access to the internet. In July 2016 the UN applied a resolution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) stating that “applying a comprehensive human rights-based approach when providing and expanding access to the internet” and “for the internet to be open, accessible and nurtured.” As the internet continues to spread the globe, social media usage will also increase, and their importance to the world of business too. Social Media is quickly evolving from a nice-to-have resource to a must-have device for your business to use.
Social Media will only continue to gain in importance as businesses attempt to focus on and tap into the Generation Z market – with particular focus on newer platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram. This is the demographic your business should be looking to target. The second area to focus on next it messaging platforms. Over 2.5 billion people use them worldwide and so connecting to consumers directly on these platforms, rather than the traditional social media sites, will be an increasingly important mode of business innovation. Livestreaming is the final area to be discussed here. The popularity of mediums such as Periscope, which is now able to livestream across multiple platforms at once, for example on Twitter, are becoming increasingly popular. They allow for a longer, more detailed communication than simply constrained written text can purport. And it’s live.
Social Media is not only here to stay but is rapidly expanding and advancing into new territory. It is free, and the evidence points to it continuing to be free for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, it is up to you how, when, where, and why, or even if you decide to get into social media. But I hope this article has showcased the unrivalled potential that social media has to improve your business. Jump in before it is too late and reap the rewards.
About the Author
Niall Bennet is the community manager at Betipy. He has a background in web design and marketing and works day to day on improving user experience and website functionality. When not working, Niall enjoys rugby and swimming.
The Internet in Real-Time, available at https://www.betipy.com/internet-realtime/
Reuters (2017) Two-thirds of American adults get news from social media: survey, Available at https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-usa-internet-socialmedia/two-thirds-of-american-adults-get-news-from-social-media-survey-idUKKCN1BJ2A8