First, there was the telephone, then the fax machine, and then social media — a revolutionary way of communicating. Since its creation, people have been able to connect with each other like never before. Friends and family can connect at any moment, and marketers have been able to reach consumers in an entirely new fashion. In fact, people use social media for an average of 144 minutes every single day. Because of its impact on society over the years, Social Media Day was born on June 30, and it has continued to grow in popularity ever since.
World Social Media Day was launched by Mashable on June 30, 2010. It was born as a way to recognize social media's impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it. Everyone uses social media every day; it's how we connect with people all over the world in a simple and fast way. Mashable is known to use social media to connect various cultures, movements, and fandoms, which is why they wanted a day to celebrate it. People use the hashtag, #SMDay every year, and this year is your time to get involved!
The first social media platform ever to be launched was Sixdegrees in 1997. Founded by Andrew Weinreich, the website allowed users to list friends and family members and had features such as profiles, bulletin boards, and school affiliations. At its peak, Sixdegrees had over a million users but it was eventually shut down in 2001.
The first modern social media platform was Friendster in 2002. The website allowed people to safely make new friends and has over a hundred million users, most of whom are in Asia. LinkedIn, the first business-focused social media platform was launched in 2003. MySpace launched in 2004, the same year as Facebook, but initially, it saw much greater success than Mark Zuckerberg's creation. By 2006 MySpace was the largest social media platform in the world, with users loving the customized profiles that also enabled them to post their music.
YouTube launched its website dedicated to video in 2005 and Twitter followed with its limited characters platform in 2006. As both grew in popularity, so did Facebook, and the most popular social media platforms for the next five years were being established.
Instagram launched in 2010 and saw rapid growth, gaining over a million users within the first couple of months. With Instagram challenging their dominance, Facebook purchased the platform for $1 billion in 2012. Facebook also purchased the encrypted messaging platform WhatsApp for $16 billion in 2014. One platform that Facebook failed to buy was Snapchat. Snapchat, which became popular due to its disappearing stories feature, was launched in 2011 and reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook in 2013. The most recent addition to the list of social media heavyweights is TikTok. The app was launched in 2016 and has become incredibly popular due to its extensive music and video editing features.
As social media has evolved and grown in popularity, so has the scrutiny that the platforms come under. With controversies surrounding their use of data, hate speech, impact on mental health, election results, and fake news, the platforms are under more pressure than ever to be transparent with what goes on behind the scenes.
Social media has become a way to instantly connect, often with friends and family, but also with complete strangers. It has become a huge source of news, shopping, and general entertainment. Social media day is for us to enjoy the positives that these platforms have brought into our lives, and maybe like or share a photo or two.
There's one main tradition that is observed on Social Media Day and that is, of course, posting about it on social media. Who'd have thought it? Many people upload photos or stories that reflect the role that social media has played in their lives. Others choose to repost their favorite uploads from the past and generally it is a chance for people to share some love online.
Many websites use Social Media Day as an opportunity to compile lists of some of their favorite social media moments. If you have a spare 20 minutes or so it is well worth your time to find some of these lists and enjoy some of the funniest, most viral social media posts knocking around.
3.5 billion – The number of people using social media.
68% – The proportion of U.S. adults who use Facebook.
3 hours – Time spent by your average person each day on social media or messaging
500 million – The number of people using Instagram Stories each day.
60 billion – WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger messages sent each day.
35 minutes – The average user spends on Facebook each day.
270 million – The estimated number of fake Facebook profiles.
707 – Number of followers the average Twitter user has.
300 hours – Video footage uploaded to YouTube every minute.
95 million – Photos uploaded to Instagram each day.
SOCIAL MEDIA DAY ACTIVITIES
Post, post, post!
Social media is only as good as the posts on it, so use this occasion to add your voice to the party! Post a selfie, a Tweet, or go live on Instagram or Facebook.
Try new platforms
There are so many social media sites out there waiting for you to discover them. Before you know it, you could be making TikTok videos, sharing your greatest travel adventures on Instagram, or joining in fun trending topics on Twitter. Give some platforms a try and see if you like them.
Take it offline
Social media can bring people together, but sometimes it's most special when your Internet friends become your IRL friends. In honor of Social Media Day, hang out with a friend you usually just talk to on social media out in the real world! Go on a walk, get a drink, or catch a flick. Just don't forget to take a pic to put on social media after!
5 FACTS ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
300 hours every minute
Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and the average person watches 40 minutes a day!
Small and medium businesses
81% of small and medium businesses use at least one social platform to stay connected with their customers.
Pizza is the most popular instagrammed food followed by sushi and steak! Yum.
The highest-liked photo on Instagram is a picture of an egg, uploaded by world_record_egg as a way to beat the record of the photo with the most likes.
There are 500 million tweets sent each day — that's 6,000 tweets every second.
WHY WE LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA DAY
Social Media is flat-out entertaining because it lets you follow the things you're interested in the most. Whether you like cat videos or cookies, the inner lives of parents or the day-to-day lives of journalists, this is the place for you. Search millions of videos and posts using hashtags to see what users have posted around the world. Or create your own content. Imagine social media as the production team to your own show. Press record and let the good times roll.
With social media, there are no limits to who you can connect with. Your favorite stars, life coaches, or even your managers can be contacted via a direct message. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to anyone and make a connection.
It's ripe for discovery
The amazing thing about social media is it gives everyone a platform to showcase their talents, voice their opinions, or document their daily activities. Up-and-coming entertainers have the ability to show the world what they're made of without going through the Hollywood struggles of trying to get their big break. With a simple click of a button, users have leveraged platforms like Vine (RIP), Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to help kick off their careers.