The use of social media has seen a remarkable surge in recent years, with the average annual growth rate standing at 10.2%. This trend is expected to continue, although the growth rate is likely to stabilize in the future. Digital media stands in stark contrast to print media, such as books, newspapers, and magazines, as well as traditional analog media such as television, movies, and radio. The sheer number of individual users of social networks paints a vivid picture of the rise of social media around the world.
However, this is only part of the story. The graphic below provides valuable insight into the extent of overlap between different social networks, based on data from GWI. Over the past 12 months alone, 190 million new users have joined social networks. This means that more than 75% of the global population is now using social media platforms.
GWI data also reveals that the average user of social networks visits an average of 7.2 different platforms each month and spends around 2 and a half hours a day on them. Most of these platforms have undergone significant changes over the last decade in terms of what they offer to users. Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in the world, but there are now six other platforms that each claim to have 1 billion or more monthly active users. We can also look at the rate of adoption of social networks relative to other modern communication technologies. However, it is important to bear in mind that these numbers may not represent unique people due to issues such as duplicate accounts.
The three main characteristics that define a social media platform are user profiles, the ability for users to constantly upload content, and the ability for users to discuss content and connect with other users.