Social Media: Then vs. Now

The average American checks their social media accounts 17 times per day, adding up to 2-3 hours total. While this fact may seem appalling, yet indicative of our generation’s attachment to social media, it’s not surprising. The apps we all have come to love like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. have evolved over time, giving us more to do on them.

Today, more than 90% of young adults (aged 18-29) use social media compared to 12% in 2005. Adults aged 30-49 jumped from 8% use to 77% in 2015. 35% of adults aged 65 and older report using social media regularly compared to a mere 2% in 2005.

The first social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997 and allowed users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, increasing social media’s popularity. MySpace, LinkedIn, Photobucket and Flickr began to explode in the early 2000s. Then, YouTube came out in 2005, creating a new way for people to communicate from anywhere. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter gained popularity throughout the world and other social media platforms like Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare, Instagram and Pinterest filled specific niches in social media.

When Facebook and Twitter first emerged, their uses were simple. They were to connect and stay up to date on what your friends are doing. Today, Twitter hosts live feeds of NFL games (link to our NFL blog) and allows users to discuss them in real time. Facebook allows users to post live videos of what they’re doing in real-time. In the digital age we live in, social media has become the king of connecting friends, strangers, old colleagues and companies. The chances of a person or brand being on at least one form of social media is huge. 

Ten years ago, social media didn’t play a strong role in anyone’s life. Now, we are a generation of likes, shares and comments. In each social media platform, users are driven by the sense of affirmation given by interactions with their posts. One of the most notable changes to social media over time is the ability to customize. Customization allows social media users to push out their personal brand and get a reaction.

Just as social media has evolved over the last ten years, so has the way we use it. Social networks have shifted from platforms for friendly conversation to platforms for branding. Today, every time a user posts a picture or comment, they are shaping their personal brand. Social media has put each of us in the creator seat. Now more than ever we are given the tools for how we are seen on a particular platform.

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