Social Media Statistics: The Facts on Use & Addiction

Social media may have started decades ago with internet relay chats (IRCs) and Usenet. It quickly rose in popularity with sites like Xanga and MySpace. Then, it really took off with Twitter and Facebook around 2006. Today, the online landscape reveals some startling social media facts. Did you know that nearly 7 in 10 American adults are on Facebook? And almost three-quarters of users check the social network daily?

U.S. Teens on Social Media
Demographics are definitely at play here. It makes sense that a professional social network like LinkedIn is far more popular among adults than it is among teenagers. Adults are looking for work-related connections to advance their careers. Not too many teens are looking for opportunities in human resources or accounting!

Teens looking for something different in their social media platforms. They tend to gravitate toward platforms that emphasize creativity and personal expression. They’re looking for personal connections, sharing funny memes and videos with friends. Teens want to have fun. That’s possibly why “challenges” are so popular.

Social platforms like Instagram and TikTok are especially popular among online influencers. Even mainstream celebrities are gravitating toward these platforms to reach a younger audience. Some of the biggest names on TikTok, according to Cosmopolitan, include Ariana Grande, Cardi B, David Dobrik, Ed Sheeran, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and Will Smith.

Social Media Addiction and Mental Health
What is your relationship like with your smartphone and social media? If you’re like the average American, you’re pretty close. A whopping 71 percent of Americans sleep with their phones next to them. And 3 percent even fall asleep holding their phones in their hands! Users also report feeling addicted to social media, feeling uneasy when they can’t check their messages immediately.

Time Spent on Social Media
How much time do users spend on social media sites? A lot, it turns out. Among Facebook users, 51% check the site several times a day. The average user spends 75 minutes each day on Facebook.

Social media statistics reveal that users are spending more and more time on social media in general. Whereas the average user spent 90 minutes per day on social networking sites in 2012, that number ballooned all the way up to 144 minutes — almost 2.5 hours — in 2019. And they’re checking their phones 52 times a day, on average. This could be a sign of rising social media addiction.

What’s the harm? Increased social media use has been linked to everything from anxiety to depression, from low self-esteem to poor sleep. Does it make you feel uneasy when you can’t check your messages right away? You’re not alone.

Real Social Media Facts and Fake News
Traditional media, like television and newspapers, has some access to user demographics and interests. Even so, it is impossible for a newspaper to print a different version for each individual reader. By contrast, that’s exactly how social media algorithms work. Your Facebook news feed, for example, adapts dynamically based on your behavior and the behavior of your peers.

Staying in the Loop
The social network algorithms are designed to show you exactly what you want when you want. They’re designed to provide you with the dopamine hit you desire, which partly explains why 74% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day.

Nearly 90 percent of Facebook users say they use the site to keep in contact with friends and family, while only one in three are there for entertainment. Meanwhile, more than half of Facebook users don’t understand why certain posts make their news feed while other posts do not.

User Profiles and Echo Chambers
Facebook maintains a list of interests and traits to sell to advertisers too. This appeals to shareholders, for sure, particularly in the United States and Canada. While users from these two countries only make up 10 percent of monthly active users, they account for nearly half of Facebook’s global ad revenue.

An individualized news feed may seem appealing to users too. But, it could have a significant downside too. Because the news feed continually reinforces itself, you can get drawn deeper and deeper into an echo chamber. You’re less likely to encounter opposing views.

This dynamic also makes it easier for “fake news” to spread too, particularly stories that reinforce your existing views. Consider that 43 percent of American adults turn to Facebook to get the news. Interestingly, despite public perception to the contrary, only 12 percent of U.S. adults say they get their news from Twitter.

The Social Network
Did these stats on social media raise a few eyebrows? Are you alarmed by signs of rising social media addiction? The fact of the matter is that social networks will continue to be a part of everyday life. They’ll be here for the foreseeable future, connecting people and spreading information all around the world.

For some fun inspiration, laugh it up with some original Words With Friends memes. If you play the popular word game, you’ll surely relate. And if you like these memes, go ahead and share them on your social media too!

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