Nearly Half the World Population is on Social Media. Here’s Why it Matters
According to data compiled by HootSuite and We Are Social, over half the world’s population has internet access. And most people with internet access are using some form of social media. Nearly half the world population is on social media. So what does this mean for, well, everything?
For better or worse, social media is here to stay. The report from HootSuite and We Are Social looked at statistics from 239 countries. Out of the 7.476 billion people in the world, 3.773 have internet access. Out of those 3.773 with internet access, 2.789 are active social media users. That’s almost 40% of the global population. And they’re active– meaning they have accounts they regularly use.
Places in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East all saw substantial growth. Some areas reported a 4% increase just since April of this year!
And most of these people are using social media from a mobile device. Let this sink in: nearly half the globe can communicate with each other from the palm of their hand. That is both insane and awesome.
Is Social Media Increasing or Decreasing Communication?
I see social media get way too much hate. And not from older folks– from millennials.
On the one hand, social media can make you feel bummed out. Chronic use can even cause loneliness or depression. It makes sense. Instagram makes people’s ordinary lives look like fairytale stories. And come, on, that sh*t ain’t accurate.
In fact, this is becoming a huge problem for teens in the United States. Psychologists are now tracking increased mental illness due to social media overuse. They also see new forms of compulsive behaviors like watching never ending streams of YouTube videos.
But there’s a lot more going on in the social media realm than just dinner photos, yoga poses, and bum fights.
Personally, I don’t have time to meet with friends very often. In fact, most of my “friends” don’t even live in the same state or country as I do. If it weren’t for social media, I would feel disconnected to the world and incredibly alone.
Social Media, War, and Politics
Social media has become a valuable political tool. And no I’m not talking about how Trump won’t stop Tweeting. (But it does crack me up.) I’m not even talking about your annoying racist uncle or SJW cousin.
For people living in conflict zones like Syria, Palestine, or Yemen, social media is important for getting their voices heard. They can take a video of what’s happening in front of them and share it with the entire world. What would the Cold War or World War II have looked like if social media had existed back then? Would things have turned out differently?
In oppressive countries like Saudi Arabia, people risk their lives to tell their stories on social media. Seriously: they could get their heads cut off.
Use it Correctly
Groups can use social media for recruiting and organizing. If you have a hobby or something you want to get involved in, nothing is stopping you from reaching out to people doing the same thing.
On Twitter, you can Tweet at the President– and he might even respond! (For whatever that’s worth.) But it’s not just politics. We can talk to anyone on Twitter: your favorite author, band, actor, or celebrity.
So we need to stop shaming people for using social media. It has its downsides, but it’s pretty f*cking awesome as long as you’re using it correctly.