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Driving Forward > Digital Marketing Blog

Real Stats on Social Media’s Explosion Since the First Social Media Day

In the 6 years since Mashable launched the first Social Media Day (#SMDay), the social landscape has evolved and exploded. Our infographic, shown below, looks at the dramatic changes in user adoption rates by noting the user data from when Social Media Day launched in 2010 and comparing those to today’s usage rates. These numbers showcase just how much social has become a large part of nearly everyone’s lives.

Social Media Statistics 2010 vs 2015

The early days of social media began in the late mid 90’s with sites like GeoCities which focused heavily on chat rooms and bulletin boards for their community, quite different from the majority of social networks we use today. In 1997 we saw the launch of SixDegrees. Named after the term “6 degrees of separation,” users needed to confirm relationships with other members in order to connect within their network. This was the precursor to Friendster and it served as the beginning framework of what is today’s modern social networking site.

When Friendster launched in 2002, it brought with it a new style of compartmentalizing and categorizing our online connections, the “social circles” network model. This is model that is most commonly known today and used by sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

While social media was used by many people in the early to mid 2000’s, it wasn’t until Facebook’s launch to the general public in 2006 that we saw social networking start to become a more widely embraced and integrated tool for everyday life, regardless of demographic. The following graph by Pew Research shows the jump in social media adoption from <9% in 2005, to a drastic jump of nearly 71% on average in 2013. One of the most interesting numbers to consider is that social media use amongst seniors has jumped and now nearly 40% of all seniors are using Facebook.

Social network usage by age from 2005 to 2013

Social network usage by age from 2005 to 2013

Changes in social keep happening. Attention spans are shorter, demands for immediacy are growing, and we are all lost in a sea of content that is fighting for us to act on it. Visual is coming out in front of the written word, and video is quickly finding its way to the front of the race with sites such as Meerkat, Periscope, Vine, and Instagram growing more and more each day, while sites like Facebook add their own native video offerings to users. Today, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, second only to Google. Video is here to stay.

Today, on the 6th Annual Social Media Day, we look at how far we’ve come, and we look out at the vast unknown of what is possible for tomorrow with today’s technology and data science being laid out in front of us. This is the challenge and excitement for those of us in the marketing trenches, watching and wondering what will be the Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. As we look at the emerging trends and try to uncover what tomorrow’s lasting movements will be, we are thrilled to be part of something that is bigger than all of us, and growing exponentially BECAUSE of all of us.


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