How Powerful are the Social Media on the Internet?

In the American political news, Republicans are discussing to cut or regulate the social media. When you read this article, you will find out that the American social media companies are being used mainly by the whole world, and that the US only uses a small part of it. Good luck with regulating.

The social media are powerful. But how powerful, we will discuss it in this article. At the end of the article, I discuss the political aspect of the social media. But before telling that the social media is all powerful, let’s look at some basic data. The world counts in January 2018 about 7,593,000,000 people. From those almost 7.6 billion people, about 4 billion (53%) people have regular Internet access, which is 7% up from 2017! From those people connected to the Internet, 3.196 billion people (42%) using the social media, which is an increase of 13% from 2017. Throughout the world, 5.135 billion people (68%) are using mobile phones, a growth of 4% compared with 2017. From those mobile phone users, 2.958 billion people (39%) are using the social media.

That’s so far about some background perspective.

How powerful is the social media?

I asked this question already at the beginning of the article, but let’s give you some idea how powerful it actually is. Let’s see what happens in the Internet and the social media during only one minute of average Internet time.

  1. Each minute, 3.3 million posts are being created in Facebook
  2. Each minute, about 150,000 emails are sent
  3. Each minute, 500 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded
  4. Each minute, 29 million messages are sent with WhatsApp
  5. Each minute, 1,440 posts are posted at WordPress websites
  6. Each minute, 448,800 tweets are being created
  7. Each minute, 65,972 photos are uploaded to InstaGram
  8. Each minute, 3.8 million searches are performed in Google search engine

Each minute of your time awake or asleep, there are billions of people on the Internet doing their things. Yes, literally billions each minute, each second of the day, none-stop. And each year this number only increases to the absolute extremes, never predicted, never seen on such scale.

The growth of mobile phone usage in the Internet

What is growing rapidly is the usage of the social media by mobile phone, which is currently at 39%, grown from 2017 with 5%! That growth is to be expected to become higher. Why?

  • Conventionally, Internet was the domain of the computers, the so called desktops and laptops. That has dramatically changed.
  • From all the website traffic on the Internet, 52% is from mobile phones (grown with 4%), desktop computers are reduced with 43% of all website traffic in the Internet (down with 3%).

Internet penetration throughout the world

With all those numbers and the majority of the world population have now access to the Internet, from which the majority is doing so with their mobile phones, let’s see how integrated the Internet is throughout the world.

Internet penetration world wide in January 2018
Internet penetration world wide in January 2018

North, West and South Europe and North America have the largest internet penetration with between 74%-94% internet users, compared with the rest of the world. But … a percentage doesn’t say anything about the actual users. For example, 50% from central Asia is numerically much higher then 94% from Northern Europe. There are much less people living in Northern Europe then in China.

Social Media growth and usage throughout per country

First we will see (before we talk about growth) what social media networking apps are the most popular and which country is using them the most.

In the US, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are popular. Facebook is the most used, followed by Instagram, Snapchat and at last Twitter. in Canada, Instagram is much less popular, just like in France. But the Twitter usage is almost gone in France. Actually, Twitter and Snapchat are gone in Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, India (a small part for Snapchat), Indonesia and Malaysia. Twitter usage throughout the world is actually reasonable popular in the US, Canada, Spain and the UK. I assume that the mainstream media in the US has the biggest user base, together with President Trump (joking). Facebook dominates everywhere.

Now the growth. Throughout the world, social media is growing the fastest in Saudi Arabia, followed by India, Indonesia, Ghana, South Africa, Vietnam, Germany, Russia, Kenya, Morocco, Poland, Philippines, Egypt, Japan, Thailand, Ireland, Sweden, China, etc. The US comes at the 29th place of the social media with 7%. Saudi Arabia grows with 32%, China with 10%, UK with 5%, South Korea with 3%, U.A.E. with 2%.

The global increase in social media usage since January 2017 is 13%!

Biggest and fastest growing social networks

Measuring the size of the social networks, we look at the number of active users.

As we can see, the biggest of all is Facebook, followed by YouTube (from Google), WhatsApp (Facebook), Facebook Messenger, WeChat, QQ, Instagram, etc. Twitter, which is so much in the news in the US, is on the 11th place. If the American Senate would be more knowledgeable, they would invite Facebook, Google and the owners of WeChat to their hearings, because Twitter has a meager 330 million active users, while WeChat has 980 active users.

Also be aware, that the social media in the Asia Pacific has 600 million active users with their social media networks like QQ, WeChat and Qzone. Western social media networks like Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter counts 1,924 million active users. Facebook counts 2,167 active user globally.

So far the usage of the social media networks, but which one is the fastest growing network at the moment?

Fastest growing social network in 2018
Fastest growing social network in 2018

How important are the social media networks for people?

In order to define how important the social media networks actually are for the people on earth, we measure the time they spend on their social media networks each day.

It’s sad actually, that so many people are using the social media networks as a big part of their day with such intensity.

In the US, ten years ago 7% of the total population were using the social media networks. Today in 2018, 65% are using the social media networks.

But if you compare the US with the rest of the world, the picture is totally different.

The US comes 21st place worldwide with the popularity of Facebook, 24th place for YouTube, 18th place for Twitter and 32nd place for Google+.

The political fallout of the politicization of certain social networks.

Let’s begin with talking about money.

  • Facebook value is about $519 billion. It also makes $6.18 dollars for each active user and it’s main revenue model is advertisements. Facebook further is now making more than a $1 billion in profit every month (average)
  • Google makes about $110.8 Billion profit a year in 2017. Even that Google is not a social media network specific, it owns YouTube, the second greatest social media network. The company is valued at $182.8 billion by Forbes’ count, up 8% over last year.
  • Twitter earns at least 86% of its revenue from advertising. In the fiscal year 2017, Twitter posted an advertising revenue of $2.1 billion, which was a 6% decrease from what the social media site earned in 2016. For Q2 of 2018, advertising revenue reached $601 million, an increase of 23% year-over-year. It’s value is about $22 billion.
  • Tencent, maker of the behemoth Chinese chat app WeChat, QZone and QQ, announced its earnings today for the three-month period ending in June. The results are predictably stellar. Quarterly revenue grew 56% to $8.4 billion, while profit hit $3.3 billion. The value of this company is $522 billion ($3 billion more then Facebook)
  • Tumblr posted its first advertisements in May 2012 and subsequently earned $13 million in revenue. In May 2013, Yahoo (YHOO) acquired the company for $1.1 billion and has estimated that the site will bring in $100 million in revenue in 2015. Tumblr currently has over 420 million users and over 200 million blogs.
  • Skype is $8.5 billion – 32 times Skype’s operating profit – was much, much more than Skype was worth, with Steve Ballmer betting that Skype’s long-term growth would justify paying what most analysts agreed was four times Skype’s value.
  • LinkedIn is also business in marketing solutions. LinkedIn makes about $90 million each quarter, or about 23% of total revenue, from showing ads to its users. The value is about $26 Billion.
  • Japanese internet powerhouse Rakuten announced that it acquired Viber for $900 million. Viber has 300 million registered users and is known for its strength in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia.

The current news (October 2018) is that something extreme is happening. Some, if not all, biggest social media networks are politicizing their content for certain political associates and for other political associations they suppress the content. We are talking about a combination of several social media networks (Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress and Instagram) working together to suppress, reduce, block or remove content from a certain political party (the Republicans) and to promote the content from and about the other political party (the Democrats). The combination of the social media networks is about $0.7 trillion dollars of market value and an active reach of almost 3 billion people.

The response of President Trump and the Republican party is logical of course, they are thinking to regulate those social media networks, even to cut them into pieces. A huge company like Google (with a value of about $183 billion), business in operating systems (Android) for the mobile phones, the search engine, the mapping application and of course its advertisement engines, broken up into small pieces. Then we have Facebook with a value of $519 billion, broken up in small pieces. Twitter with a value of $22 billion with for years problems to be profitable, takes the risk to be torn apart, which it might not be able to survive.

Those companies are risking their existence with a political game. If the Republicans are winning the midterm elections 2018, the chance that those companies are going to be split up and/or regulated is very large.

One additional remark about this threat is that the majority of the active users are not in America, but everywhere else in the world.

The backslash of such actions will be harsh. First business-wise it means billions will be lost, if not more. Secondly the backslash worldwide will be harsh as well. The rise of populism and social media is without question connected.

2 thoughts on “How Powerful are the Social Media on the Internet?”

  1. Pingback: Gigantic Social Media, Impossible to Regulate, Dangerous to Stop!!! | Wim's Blog

  2. Pingback: Social Media for the Conservatives | Wim's Blog

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