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438: Regular Networking

How many social networks do you regularly use?

Full episode script

So the other day I had a conversation with my mom about social network use. Specifically, about the fact that Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, use the same algorithms, and are showing the same ads. And everyone who gets sick of Facebook and heads over to Instagram are really staying on the same network — at least on the back end. The content, however, is often different because the communities that have built up around the network are also quite different.

That community difference is what often draws people to one particular social network or another, and like most areas of life, most of us are a part of at least one community. Global Web Index, in a self-reported survey in 2017, found that 33% of online time is spent on social networks – about twice the amount of time people report that the spend streaming TV or movies online.

The majority of time on social networks is also spent via mobile device – one report in 2015 estimated that it’s 60 percent or more. There’s also a May of 2017 report that estimates that the average smartphone user has 30 apps, 9 to 10 of which are apps they use daily. Social media is also usually about the 2nd or 3rd category of most popular apps on those smartphones.

None of which actually tells us how many social networks most people are a part of. I have had trouble finding a good statistic on this, so if you find one, please email or ping me on any of the networks we are on! Extrapolating from the available data, I would estimate that most smartphone users, at least, have 2 or 3 social networking apps that they use on a regular basis.

Where it gets complicated is, depending on which statistic you look at, things like Facebook and Facebook messenger are considered two separate social networks, because they two separate apps. Usage statistics also tell us that Facebook is the most popular network, while Instagram is the network with the highest interactions — at least in North America.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.