The State of Social Media: Looking Back at 2016 and Beyond

— December 15, 2016

Today, social media is a term that everyone knows. Even the most remote areas of the world have at least heard of Facebook and Twitter, and are probably using them on a regular basis. But it wasn’t always that way.

Social media, in its present form, has been around a relatively short term years and even though you probably can’t imagine living without it now, except for the last few decades, everyone did.

Of course, how you define social media can determine where you actually start the history of the medium.

1997: The Birth of Social Media

The first social media site that everyone can agree actually was a website called Six Degrees. It was named after the ‘six degrees of separation’ theory and lasted from 1997 to 2001. Six Degrees allowed users to create a profile and then friend other users. Six Degrees even allowed those who didn’t register as users to confirm friendships and connected quite a few people this way.

2000: The Internet is Everywhere

By the year 2000, around 100 million people had access to the internet, and it became quite common for people to be engaged socially online. Of course, then it was looked at as an odd hobby at best. Still, more and more people began to utilize chat rooms for making friends, dating and discussing topics that they wanted to talk about. But the huge boom of social media was still to come.

2003: The First Social Media Surge

Although the younger generation of today might not know about it, back in the early 2000’s the website MySpace was the popular place to set up a profile and make friends. MySpace was the original social media profile website, leading into and inspiring websites like Facebook.

But even though MySpace has a very small user base today compared to Facebook and Twitter, there are musicians who have used MySpace to promote their music and even be heard by record producers and other artists. Colbie Caillat is an example.

Another website that was one of the beginning social media websites was LinkedIn, still a social media website today, geared specifically towards professionals who want to network with each other.

In fact, most of the social media websites we have today are similar to LinkedIn, in that they are specifically about one particular thing, or they have some kind of unique quality that has made them popular. While MySpace was a general social media site, LinkedIn was, and is still is, meant for professional businesspeople to connect with each other to network, find jobs and socialize.

2005: Facebook and Twitter

In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched what would soon become the social media giant that would set the bar for all other social media services. Facebook is the number one social media website today and it currently boasts over a billion users.

However, back in 2004, Facebook ( then) was launched just for Harvard students. Zuckerberg saw the potential and released the service to the world at the website

In 2006, the popularity of text messaging or SMS inspired Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Noah Glass and Evan Williams to create Twitter, a service that had the unique distinction of allowing users to send “tweets” of 140 characters or less. Today, Twitter has over 500 million users.

Around 2010: The Rest of the Pack

Before long, there were dozens of other websites providing social media services of some kind. Flickr was one of the earliest and still is one of the most popular photo sharing sites, but others include Photobucket and Instagram, with Instagram gaining popularity today as one of the top social media sites to include on business cards and other media.

Tumblr, a microblogging website started in 2007 by David Karp and now owned by Yahoo, is one of the sites that could be seen sprouting up in the late 2000s. Foursquare was quite a popular website for a while, particularly with smartphones being used so extensively, and then there is Pinterest, Spotify, and many others. Some of the most popular social media platforms in the late 2000’s included: Google Buzz, Loopt, Blippy, and Groupon.

One of the things that started happening right in this time period is that social media not only became widely used, it also became widespread in business.

Social media icons were seen everywhere and it became almost unusual to see businesses or brands without them.

In addition, social media began to be one of the ways in which internet marketers and website owners would boost the visibility of their websites. The benefits of social media marketing for business began to become quite clear to business owners large and small. Social media bookmarking became quite popular and there were services that would bookmark a post or a website across dozens or even hundreds of social media services.

Social Media Today

Social media today consists of thousands of social media platforms, all serving the same — but slightly different purpose. Of course, some social media platforms are more popular than others, but even the smaller ones get used by a portion of the population because each one caters to a very different type of person.

Social media facts from 7 Top Social networks

Every now and then it’s worth looking at the current facts, cast our thoughts back to the past and ponder the future. While we are just stepping onto the new year, lets take a look at what Social Media achieved in 2016.

Here are the latest facts that I could find about 7of the top social media networks that as entrepreneurs. business owners and marketers we need to consider.

Snapchat facts

Snapchat was launched in September 2011 after Evan Spiegel presented it as class project at Stanford University while studying product design. It’s initial working title was “Picaboo” and was based on the concept of using images that were explicitly short-lived.

  1. There are over 100 million active daily users
  2. Snapchat users watch over 6 billion videos daily (remember they are only 10 seconds in length)
  3. 8,796 photos are shared every second
  4. 30% of media planners, agencies and brands plan to include Snapchat in their Super Bowl campaigns
  5. 65% of Snapchat users upload photos every day
  6. 76% of millennials use Snapchat

Infographic source:

Facebook facts

Facebook has been with us since February 2004. It’s current valuation is $ 350 billion. It may become the world’s first trillion dollar company.

  1. Facebook users now total 1.65 billion monthly users
  2. 823 million mobile only users
  3. Net income for first quarter 2016 was $ 1.51 billion
  4. Facebook’s current market value is $ 321 billion
  5. It so far has spent over $ 25 billion buying competitors (Including Instagram, WhatsApp and the virtual reality company Occulus)
  6. 83% of parents on Facebook are friends with their children on Facebook
  7. Facebook adds half a million new users every day
  8. 47% of all Internet users are on Facebook
  9. 4.5 billion likes are generated daily
  10. Facebook takes up 22% of Internet time (compared to 11% for Google and YouTube combined)
  11. Facebook has 19% of the $ 70 billion spent on global mobile advertising
  12. 78% of Facebook advertising revenue comes from mobile ads

Stats source: Brandwatch

Infographic source: Jaydeemedia

Instagram facts

Instagram has just hit half a billion users. Facebook paid $ 1 billion for it in 2012 and was seen as possibly foolish at the time. In hindsight it is now looking very wise and astute. Current estimated value? According to Bank of America it could be as high as $ 37 billion.

  1. 500 million monthly users
  2. 20% of all internet users are on Instagram
  3. Average engagement on Instagram posts is 1.1%
  4. 91% of all Instagram posts are photos
  5. 90% of all Instagram users are younger than 35
  6. 41% of Instagram users are aged between 16 and 24
  7. 47% of Millenials use Instagram as a messaging app (compared to 50% for Facebook messenger)
  8. One third of teenagers say Instagram is their most important social network
  9. 28% of Us users use Instagram
  10. Instagram has doubled each year for the past 2 years
  11. 80 million photos are uploaded daily

Stats source: Expandedramblings, Maximizesocialbusiness

Infographic source: Maximizesocialbusiness

Twitter facts

Twitter is struggling but with over 300 million users it is still a social network worth taking seriously. As its timeline is still quite open the platform is often used as a metric to measure online influence.

  1. It currently has 310 million monthly users
  2. In 2015 it had revenue of $ 2.2 billion
  3. Katy Perry has over 85 million followers on Twitter
  4. The most retweeted tweet is the Oscar selfie by Ellen DeGeneres at 3.4 million times
  5. 500 million people view Twitter without logging in
  6. 1 billion people each month view sites with embedded tweets
  7. 200 billion tweets are sent every year
  8. 500 million tweets are sent each day
  9. Donald Trump has 7 million followers on Twitter

Stats source: Entrepreneur, Wikipedia, Economictimes

Infographic source:

YouTube facts

YouTube is almost seen as a dinosaur on the modern social web (started on February 14, 2005) but the numbers show it’s a big dinosaur and still growing. Google’s acquisition in 2006 for $ 1.65 billion that seems insignificant with it now being valued around $ 80 billion.

  1. YouTube has over 1.3 billion users
  2. One third of the world’s Internet population use YouTube
  3. Adele’s song “Hello” only took 5 days to reach 100 million views
  4. In the USA YouTube reaches more 18–49 year olds than the cable networks
  5. On mobile the average viewing time on YouTube is 40 minutes
  6. More than 50% of all YouTube views are on mobile
  7. You can use 76 different languages on YouTube
  8. Growth in watch time is up over 50% year on year for the last 3 years
  9. 5 billion videos are watched every day
  10. It costs $ 6.3 billion to open up the doors every year and keep YouTube running and maintained
  11. PewDiePie is YouTube’s highest paid YouTube partner at $ 12.5 million

Stats source: YouTube, FortuneLords, Makeuseof

Infographic source: Fortunelords

LinkedIn facts

LinkedIn has just been bought by Microsoft. It will be interesting to see how that affects its evolution and growth. But there is one thing you should keep in mind.

If you are an avid user of linkedIn and rely almost exclusively on it for leads and creating business relationships then be very careful that you don’t do this.

Put all your eggs in a basket you don’t own.

  1. Linkedin has more than 433 million members worldwide
  2. Over 25 million Linkedin profiles are viewed every day
  3. First quarter revenue for 2016 was $ 861 million
  4. Full year revenue for 2016 is projected to reach $ 3.7 billion
  5. Microsoft bought Linkedin for $ 26.2 billion
  6. 9 percent growth year on year
  7. 105 million unique visiting members per month
  8. 60 percent mobile usage
  9. 45 billion quarterly member page views
  10. 101 percent annual growth every year with its job listing
  11. There are more than 7 million active job listings
  12. One in twenty Linkedin profiles belong to recruiters
  13. One out of every three professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn
  14. 200 conversations per minute occur in LinkedIn groups

Statistics source: and LinkedIn

Infographic source: Remessaged

Pinterest facts

Pinterest is not a big viral network but it should not be ignored. It is great for targeting a female demographic and a target market in anything visual.

This includes design, photography, fashion and food as starters.

  1. Pinterest has 100 million users
  2. It is valued at $ 11 billion
  3. 85% of Pinterest users are female
  4. Each pin is repinned on average 10 times
  5. Pinterest pins drive 4 website traffic hits
  6. Users spend an average of 15 minutes on Pinterest per visit
  7. 75% of Pintetest traffic comes from mobile apps
  8. Images with 50% colour saturation get shared 10x more than black and white images
  9. Red or orange images get shared 200% more than other colors

Stats sources:,,

Infographic source:

The Future

With Chatbots coming to Social Media recently and a whole another media emerging within Social Media – Private Media, the social game is far from over.

We, as humans, will continue to be social given the opportunity to do so and social platforms will continue to capitalize on this behavior, which they see as an opportunity.
Who knows the future?
But Social Media is not a trend that will go away.
It has the power to revolutionize our lives.
And it has just been doing that from the past few decades and will continue to do so in the near future. That’s for sure.

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