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The Social Effect Part 1: Just the Facts

Jennifer Moonsong

Division Publisher

Metcalfe and Barren


In 2003 the way we communicate and interact with each other was forever changed with the launching of the first social media platform, MySpace. Many thought it wouldn’t catch on. Now, almost 2 decades later social media has become such an infectious part of life that it is changed not only the way we communicate, but our language, our lives, and our expectations.

A year later in 2004, Facebook was founded and remains the most popular social media platform around the globe with a reported 2.89 billion users. Even so, six social media platforms including the ever-popular Instagram and TikTok now report having over 1 billion users.

You might be wondering where America ranks in the lineup. The United States of America is third around the globe in social media usage.

69% of Americans use Facebook. 42% of American teens use Facebook. 37% of U.S. adults get their news from Facebook. 73% of U.S. adults visit Facebook every day. Those statistics are reflective of Facebook alone, and statistics available for more all-inclusive percentages, are less concrete.

China ranks number one, while India ranks number two. As for least, Germany, France, and Japan rank the lowest in countries that actively use social media.

So, how much time does the average American spend engaging on social media every day?

In 2021, the average American spends two hours and three minutes a day on social media. However, for people using social media as a platform to run a business or promote a cause the amount of time spent daily was generally much higher, and reflects only social media interaction time; The average American spends 6.31 hours a day “online”.


The Cost & the Price

Social media is mostly free to users, but the top-ranking platforms reap billions of dollars each year. Facebook’s market capitalization alone stands at $450 billion and its stock price trades in the $155 range. How so?

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter all make the brunt of their money via advertisers.

However, it is not the only revenue stream.

Data generation is another Ormandy source of income for social media. It is not without cost. A recent data breach potentially exposing 87 million users to hackers and data thieves left many questioning the ethics of revenue sources.

Numbers related to the way users use.

It has been argued recently across the World Wide Web that although Instagram is not an official dating app, it is the most popular way to meet people. Exact numbers are unclear coming from multiple sources, but roughly hundreds of thousands of people report cultivating relationships via social media, ranging from teens to those in their golden years.

Viewpoints on such vary.

In recent years, with the vast usage, everyone from parents and elderly caregivers to psychologists are questioning what impact social media’s relentless presence is having on mental health.

A 2019 study by JAMA suggested that teenagers who use social media for more than 3 hours daily are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, aggression, and antisocial behavior.

With so many numbers swirling, the impact is undeniable. But how far it will go, how long it will last, and whether or not society is adapting are still up for debate.

Read next week’s paper to hear more about personal social media experiences from people in Southcentral Kentucky.

The statistics for this article came from a variety of sources, including psychological journals, the world economic forum, and business insider.

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