The Future of Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of most people’s life. Most of my screen time is attributed to my social media apps. When I need to relax, I will go to my friends’ stories on Instagram to see what great restaurants or great outdoor places they’ve found recently. And I get the latest news, connect with my friends and even shop through Instagram. I learn about coding and how to analyze and evaluate company stocks through YouTube. Social media is no longer just social.

As can be seen from the above research results, the younger generation now uses TikTok and Snapchat more often. My friends told me it is time for us to start using TikTok to keep up with the trend. As new platforms come out, different platforms also have their specific loyal users and evolve particular functions. Here are some social media demographics and stats to show you how far these social media became.

Facebook 

Facebook has 2.7 billion monthly active users. Their largest age group is 25-35. Facebook is expected to lose 2 million users under the age of 25 this year.

Instagram 

Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users. Their largest age group is 25-34. Eighty percent of Instagram users follow at least one business profile, with 200 million of them constantly checking their favorite brands. Instagram faces fierce competition for younger users. TikTok(29%) recently overtook Instagram(25%) as the most popular social platform among American teens. Instagram stories are two times more popular than Snapchat.Top brands love Instagram. Recent Instagram data highlight the value of influencers and Instagram content in motivating shopping.

YouTube

YouTube has 2 billion monthly active users. Their largest age group is 15-25. YouTube’s popularity among younger users highlight a long-term and ongoing shift to video content. From what I know, now most younger kids want to be YouTubers when they grow up. And there is an increasing number of schools providing classes to teach young children to be YouTubers. YouTube is the second largest search engine, taking second to Google with 3 billion searches a month. YouTube grows as a social network and as a competitor of streaming platforms like Netflix.

Twitter

Twitter has 187 million daily active users. Their largest age group is 30-49. Twitter’s role as a place to discuss events and gather breaking news makes it the perfect place to share content and promote discussions. 42% of Twitter users are highly educated and higher earners. Although there are 1.3 billion Twitter accounts, only about a quarter of them are active every month.

So what changes can we expect to see for social media?

1.Live streams will remain popular

Due to the pandemic, Face-to-face meetings turned into Zoom conferences, and live concerts turned into live streams of artists playing from their homes. Facebook saw a massive rise in messaging and live streaming. In 2018, an estimated 47 percent of global consumers said their live streaming increased from the previous year. And that number is set to grow — Cisco estimates that 82 percent of Internet traffic will come from video by 2022. Social media live streaming is dynamic, authentic, and engaging. Live Streaming E-commerce in social media platforms is rage in China. The live stream of Li Jiaqi, the best salesman of beauty products in China, was watched by 300 million people and sold around 1 billion dollars sales a single day. I wonder if this live stream marketing would be a trend in the US.

Ultimate Guide to Social Media Live Streaming in 2019

2.Stories as a content format and more visuals

More than 500 million users interact with Instagram Stories every day. A study by Social Insider found that images in stories get 5.65% more clicks than videos. The click-forward rate is the number of people who see your account and move on to the next story before it’s finished. We continue to see s shift toward live content that is composed through a camera. What I love about Stories is it is about the present. I believe that the ability to see through other people’s lenses in real-time is becoming a powerful force in social media.

Visual animals, with a low-attention span: use images to engage with your  brand | Rainy London Branding

3.Less personal content, but more memes

Social media users share less personal information on major networks, preferring to show some external content to their friends, such as a funny video or a funny meme. What I really enjoy is is to share funny videos with my friends, or chat only with memes.As I am not a native speaker, I rely on memes very much. When I was not fluent in English, Memes could help me communicate with my friends smoothly.I firmly believe that I could write a blog about Digital Transformation using only Memes

When Your A Low Level And Join Your First Session/Heist : gtaonline

4. VR and AR will become more popular on social media

By early 2021, Facebook uses the Oculus VR platform to beta test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games. TikTok showed off a golden ball, slowly falling and then blasting open and filling the room with shiny paper and shiny balloons.AR and VR experiences are inherently interactive, very compelling for user engagement and fun.

5.Enforced Regulation

On the other side, Social Media brings downsides and dangers such as cyberbullying. I believe that only enforced regulations can encourage users to increase trust in social media networks and promote engagement.

Sometimes my friends around me and I would delete social media apps for some time because we think it takes up too much of our precious time, which we could use for reading and our families. It’s fair to say that people have mixed feelings about Social Media. There is a popular joke on Twitter that even though you no longer want to be on Twitter because it is so toxic, you remain on it anyway. Gradually, many people say goodbye to their social media apps because they think these platforms no longer serve them as positively as it serves them negatively. Social media has evolved from a direct electronic exchange of information to a virtual meeting place, retail platform, and crucial marketing tool of the 21st century in less than a generation. When people’s social media are flooded with misinformation, many advertisements and accounts are banned for no reason; people may start to miss the platform that begins as pure communication. It’s just like cooking. If you add more and more seasonings, the dish may not taste good. Many people now mitigate to Private Message Apps because some people want a platform to speak freely and not be spied on. Sometimes I discussed something in the chat, and then the platform kept pushing relevant advertisements to me. I felt like being snooped on, and sometimes I felt not very comfortable.

What do you think of social media? Do you want them to go back to simplicity, or do you want them to become more and more of an integrated platform?

15 comments

  1. ritellryan · ·

    This was a great breakdown of the different platforms. I for one want to see you write an entire blog with just memes. I do find it funny how Facebook and Twitter became very popular when I was in high school, and now they are the social media tool for the “old crowd”. I think much of the image heavy content is good because it is just easier to scan and you can miss words but still see what you are being told. Given all of our attention spans are so short, I love listening to articles or books because I can do other things and move in an out of the article/book I am reading (which, I know, means I am not getting the same benefit). With regards to streaming content, this has actually been a huge benefit for me as the baseball team I play on streams our games via Facebook Live, which has allowed me and my teammates families to watch us play when they live far away (TX and GA to name a few), which has been pretty cool to share some of that with people who otherwise would not be able to.

  2. conoreiremba · ·

    Great post Chang, and I must admit that I have also had friends tell me that I should join TikTok, although having recently turned 30 and seeing the stats that you have shared, I think I’ll stick to Twitter/Instagram for now and leave the “TikToking” to the younger generation.
    I am not surprised by how popular video content has become though and it is no secret that our collective attention spans continue to decrease so video has become far more engaging and consumable than reading through posts, particularly among younger users. I hadn’t considered the popularity of Stories as a format though, but it makes total sense that users get great value from seeing things “as they happen”. After all, we are all suckers for real-time updates.
    I loved the cooking analogy and I can definitely relate. I am starting to drift a little from social media because of the sheer volume of content and ads, far too many ingredients for my liking. Personally, I’m a big fan of social media for just the simplified exchange of information and so I use it mostly for staying in touch with friends in Ireland and for keeping up to date on current events and sports. I actually stopped using Snapchat completely after it added a ton of new features. So while I am pro-simplicity, as I mentioned I am starting to push on now in age so maybe I’m the wrong person to be asking. But I was happy to hear that I am not the only one who is still a big fan of memes and I really hope your next blog post is written using just memes. Really enjoyable post.

  3. Jie Zhao · ·

    Great breakdown of some of the most popular social media platforms today. I am definitely surprised by some of the data you presented here, especially the % of children using social media at age 0-2 and 3-4! While those numbers are relatively small, I would’ve expected those to be zeros – as I feel that’s too young to use social media. I know some platforms, such as YouTube, have customized kid-only versions to ensure content shown is appropriate, but I wonder if TikTok and Snapchats do as well? I can relate to using memes often, I’ve found it sometimes it is just so much easier to respond or describe the situation with a meme rather than putting it in words. I am interested to see new metrics that will be used to analyze user activities such as the click-froward rate you mentioned – with every single activity that can essentially be tracked online I’d love to see how companies use them differently to sell their products and brands.

  4. Scott Siegler · ·

    I feel comfortable speaking for the class and asking – could you please write your next blog post using only memes? I feel like we’d all appreciate that type of craftsmanship. This is all really interesting info about social media platforms that has definitely helped me update my perspective on them. Personally, I enjoy using Facebook to stay connected with friends and family from current past stages of life. I love seeing threads that end incorporating random friends from grade school, high school, college, and post-grad life all in one spot. I feel like the only other situations where people from all phases of your life can come together into one “location” like that are usually a wedding or funeral. And for instagram, I actually mostly use it to keep up with my favorite brands and capitalize on sales and special offers. I also think it is a great medium for learning new things too.

  5. abigailholler1 · ·

    Very interesting breakdown on the various social media platforms, and how offerings differ across the industry. I noticed you didn’t include snapchat, which really speaks to how that app has become obsolete in recent years. My personal opinion is that social media applications will only continue to stay relevant if they can quickly pivot and evolve with the latest content delivery format. I think Instagram has been able to do this most successfully, they’ve taken key elements from other social media strategies and added these to their platform, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for users. For example, they’ve rolled out stories in response to snapchat, IGTV in response to youtube, and Reels in response to TikTok. With this in mind, it’s as though the social media industry is more about becoming a ‘jack of all trades’ rather than a ‘master of one’. This strategy has worked in the past for Instagram, will it be enough to withstand new entrants like TikTok? Time will tell!

  6. Nice post. It will certainly be interesting to see how these platforms continue to evolve.

  7. olivia_levy8 · ·

    I really liked how you approached this blog by analyzing the different platforms. I was honestly very surprised to see YouTube having a higher number of daily users than Instagram or Twitter, but it makes sense as when I can’t figure out how to do something that is one of the first places I turn to. I also liked the inclusion of the rise of the “stories”, and on the topic of memes, that is often a meme topic as stories really originated on Snapchat and slowly were integrated to Instagram and Facebook soon after. I also enjoy the less personal content on these platforms as well, as I am not always interested in what everyone else is doing at every moment, I definitely like to stay up to date on some friends lives, but think that this shift helps balance and helps get away from that Facebook Mom style update about every little think that happens every hour mentality. Thanks for sharing a great blog post!

  8. I liked how you broke down each major social media platform and the audience its targeting. The numbers seem to back up my thinking on how they are used. My younger brother uses Snapchat as almost a form of texting. He and his friends won’t use iMessage but will actually rather communicate through that app. On the other side, I have seen that Facebook trends more towards the older demographic. The most vocal people on Facebook seem to be people I am either not really friends with (for certain reasons) or those who have families of their own. Personally, I like Twitter the most because its a great source for news. I find out things quickly through Twitter that I otherwise would not have. For example, I used an account that Tweets out vaccine openings to make an appointment today!

  9. Very nice post Chang. I enjoyed the stats you put up with the age group of most platforms. I am very interested to see what the future holds for regulation. I think that regulation is going to be one of the most interesting topic to watch over the next five years as it relates to social media companies. The Supreme Court is getting much more involved with Section 230 and I am sure we will see changes soon.

  10. alexcarey94 · ·

    Awesome post- I totally see the shift that has happened with video content. You even often see this on Instagram where influencers (who often got their start on YouTube) post a lot of video content in their stories to almost walk you through their day. For everyone above that has stated they haven’t tried out tik tok yet I highly encourage it! Everything is fine tuned to what you are interested in so you won’t get a lot of content from young users but rather things you might be interested in like cooking or related posts about the 90s. I was some what surprised by the YouTube engagement but a lot of people use this as almost tv watching you vloggers make longer 25 min content videos walking you through their day or makeup or clothing hauls. I think in the future when we see younger people move into their own spaces we will see YouTube even increase as people watch this instead of typical shows on their tv when having the option to purchase cable, a streaming service or watch YouTube.

  11. sayoyamusa · ·

    Great post, Chang! The characteristics of each social media are very informative. While you mainly focused on age groups, I think it will also be interesting to see from other various aspects such as nations, jobs, or more broadly people’s lifestyles. When I worked as a marketer back in Japan, it was vital for promoting our brands to understand consumers’ preference and use different social platforms depending on the marketing goals. Also, you raised great points about the upcoming trends for social media, which I totally agreed with. For regulation, I just read the recent article saying YouTube decided to show VVR (Violative View Rate.) Still, they are on their way, but I hope they can mitigate dangers (especially for kids) and provide smarter ways of using all these platforms.
    Here is the article link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/06/technology/youtube-views.html

  12. lourdessanfeliu · ·

    Very nice post! I loved how you broke down all of the social media platforms and showed the demographics for each. I wasnt aware that snapchat was still popular among the younger generations. As Sam mentioned, I am curious to see how future regulations will affect the content on social media.

  13. shaneriley88 · ·

    Once again, another great post! The upswing in the use of TikTok and the generational difference brought Barstool Sports to mind. Over the years, I’ve followed Barstool, then unfollowed so on and so forth. Recently, having once again entered a phase of following a few of their IG accounts and Twitter, I’ve noticed the efforts their team has made to court-leading TikTo-ers (a thing?) It’s interesting to see how social media outlets interact and how generational preferences evolve. Truly fascinating to see how much can be said by memes.

  14. Great post! I think that we will see a lot of growth and change to social with the beginnings of 5G and how they will incorporate growing technologies like AR and VR to make content more exciting. I see there being alot of potential with games like clash of clans, kids and adults could project the story on the living room table and play against friends in real time.

  15. Divya Jha · ·

    Loved your post! Sales of 1 billion dollars in a day – I did not know Live Streaming was such a big thing! I know video content shows no signs of dropping popularity but most of all, I’m curious about how and when AR and VR experiences will become more popular. And as annoying as having so many apps I can be, I would not want social platforms to be integrated with each other. Like you described, each has a different audience and purpose. The Facebook-Instagram integration still makes me feel irrationally weird. On another note, Chang, I think you should definitely write a post using just memes!

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