We live in an ever-changing technological world and social media in particular changes almost daily. It’s never been easier to stay connected to people and to keep up-to-date with the world around us. We can now tailor our feeds so that we see the exact content we want to see, and block and report accounts that we don’t. As we’re just starting 2020, we thought it might be a good idea to recap some social media highlights from the past decade!

2010 – 2012: a new decade – let’s get visual

Instagram launched ten years ago in 2010 and it now has over one billion monthly active users – including 500 million who use Instagram Stories every day. The highly-visual nature of the platform means it’s a great place for brands to be creative with their content and keep their followers updated. It’s also prompted a huge rise in the popularity of influencers – people who help to get brands noticed by posting about them to large volumes of followers.

Red background - woman in frame, Instagram

Another new platform, Snapchat launched in 2011, playing on the concept of disappearing messages (something that hadn’t been done before). The app is primarily used for sharing photos, videos and text messages and now has 210 million daily active users. It’s particularly popular with Gen Z.

Unique dating app Tinder was born in 2012 giving singletons worldwide the opportunity to choose potential dates based on pictures and a brief description of themselves. The interactive ‘swiping’ action made the app particularly popular with teenagers and young adults. It’s now used in 190 countries and is available in 40 languages.

Live video streaming platform Twitch was another new addition in 2011 – predominantly used for gameplay streaming. Particularly popular in the U.S – it is owned by Amazon and as of last year, had 15 million daily active users.

2013 – 2015: time for change and acquisition

In 2013, we saw the rise in six-second videos as Vine was released. In less than a few months, it became the most used video sharing app and by April 2013, it was the most downloaded free app in the iOS store.

Women filming themselves

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp Messenger for a massive $22 billion. Having already released Facebook Messenger as a separate app in 2011, it now dominated the social media messaging sphere.

2016 – 2018: social media under fire

During the 2016 US presidential election, Facebook, Twitter and Google were all criticised for allowing misinformation to be spread (both organically and through ads). 44% of U.S adults reported learning about the election from social media.

2016 also saw the death of Vine and Friends Reunited.

In 2018, there was a major political scandal when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent, using it to target political ads to them. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to testify in front of the United States Congress and pledged to make changes to Facebook’s data policy to prevent breaches occurring in the future. The company was fined $5 billion dollars for ‘failing to safeguard people’s information’. In April, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) used by the EU was rolled out to other countries in an attempt to respond to these kind of breaches.

2019-2020 and beyond: the future?

2019 saw Google+ and Blackberry Messenger shut down as a result of glitches and a lack of new users.

So what’s in store for the next decade? Tik Tok – formerly known as Musical.ly – seems to be closing in on some of the bigger platforms. The app allows users to make amateur music videos and uses songs in a new and innovative way. As of November last year, the app surpassed 1.5 billion downloads placing it just behind Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

people on phones

Reddit, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all also still noteworthy in terms of active users (each have about 300 million active users according to Statista). Facebook, Instagram and Twitter seem to keep their lead – perhaps because they’re always adding new features and simply have the huge user base across most of the world… But in order for them to stay at the top, it seems they’ll not only need to keep on top of the legal stuff, but also keep adapting to stay appealing to a new generation – one who likes quick, digestible information.

Our team are always on top of the latest social media trends – stay tuned for our latest blogs published weekly!

 , , , , , ,