Since Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dorm room in 2014, we have seen the evolution of social media into a phenomenon that has triggered a paradigm shift in the way the world communicates. Things have changed and it all started with Facebook.
2012 was an eventful year as a lot of people were eagerly awaiting the Facebook IPO; an IPO most were uncertain about. It was not clear that Facebook had a viable business model, and investors were concerned if they could monetize. After the first few months, the stock was down, and the future looked grim. That was 6 years ago. Today, Facebook is one of the fastest growing, most well known, most trusted and most valued companies in the world.
Facebook’s success as a business owes a lot to the effectiveness of the app on mobile phones. In 2012, mobile apps represented only 10% of Facebook’s revenue, today, it accounts for about 90%. They were able to move with the users from desktops to mobile and create a totally new stream of revenue that corresponded with a big shift in consumer behavior. This success has allowed Facebook to expand, just enough to buy Instagram and WhatsApp with room for developing new products like Messenger.
Social media has made some pretty dramatic impacts on world affairs over the last decade. It was a very important tool that sparked the democratic civil uprising in the Middle East in 2010, that helped oust rulers from power in such countries as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Thanks to social media, people were able to coordinate, protest and raise awareness in the face of repression.
There is no doubt the power of social media is exponential. Numbers tell the story. Today, there are well over 1.3 billion active Facebook users, with over 80% from outside the U.S. and Canada. Twitter boasts of 300 million actor users that send about 500 million tweets per day. And each day, 4 billion videos are viewed on YouTube, and 60 million photos are uploaded on Instagram.
Fast forward to the future and we should see global social media usage continue on its upward trajectory. In 2014, eMarketer projected that it would nearly double to 32.7% by 2018. They predicted that by 2018, 2.44 billion of the world population will be on social media. I can’t speak much for the remainder of the projected billion, but my grandma made her social media debut at the start of the year.
Everyone in the world has access to relatively cheap, extremely powerful mobile devices in our pockets. If not everyone, a clear majority of the world's population have smartphones and devices whose functions go beyond calls and texts. Wi-Fi is now everywhere and 4G networks can be found in all corners of the globe. This has made accessing the internet and consuming content on mobile phones and apps relatively easy.
Instagram was one of the first totally visual-focused social networks; initially, it was almost all pictures. Its massive success served as a spark for the rest of the industry. Quickly, other social networks started leaning away from texts to images, and the trend continued to evolve towards video.
Social media has grown exponentially over the last decade and has continued in its upward spiral. One can only imagine what surprises the future holds for those of us known as social media freaks.