Social media becomes most popular online activity

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In an article published today by The Guardian, it claims social media has become the most popular online activity overtaking entertainment. In the UK alone, social media accounts for almost a fifth of the two hours and 51 minutes a day people in the UK on average spend on the web.

It’s no surprise either, as social media can be dipped in and out of a lot more easily, whereas watching a YouTube video or listening to music through iTunes is more time consuming. I know for a fact when I’m on the train, I open up Twitter and have literally a quick 1-2 minute scroll through my feed to read anything of interest. Our habits are changing rapidly and we’re becoming more socially connected online.

Entertainment has fallen significantly by almost a half from 22.1% to 12.4%, which may seem surprising when most of us also watch videos and listen to music, as well as use social media. The choice of platform is also intriguing, as on mobile devices, social media accounts for more than 20% of time spent, compared to under 10% on desktop. Games are also growing in popularity 8.6% spent on mobiles, compared to 2.3% on desktop.

These figures might not shock a lot of you, but I guess the profound point to pick out from this is that we’re becoming attached to social media a lot more. It’s become something of an everyday routine checking your Facebook and Twitter feed. Not to mention websites like Reddit, which are also increasing in popularity. It’s kind of scary how much we’re using it actually because not many of us seem to be aware of our usage.

How much on average do you use social media a day?

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Social media is a new planet

When you log into your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn; the first thing you’ll probably do is check your latest messages or wall posts. I certainly do this a lot, as I’m eager to find out what other people are doing – whether they be my friends or anyone around the world. The way this social media storm has erupted is truly astonishing and I don’t think a lot of people realise how big it’s actually becoming.

This technology, if you can call it that, has taken our planet and shaped it into a socially connected world. A good example that shows this was when most people found out about Bin Laden’s death. Everyone knew about this hours before the papers even reported on the incident, due to a  local posting a tweet about the raid on his disguised facility.

I wouldn’t say Facebook is as useful as Twitter for obtaining relevant information, but it can still be used to find out all the latest gossip about your friends and family. As long as you have Facebook, you’ll always know who’s in a relationship with who and what music festivals everyone is attending.

Personally I prefer the use of Twitter because there’s a wider range of factual information. As discussed before, Twitter has become a fresh news source for journalists. They read a tweet about a fire on the River Thames for instance, then they go out and investigate the story for themselves. Even fellow journalists can use the service for something called ‘#JournoRequest’, which is where the power of Twitter really comes into its own. Journalists ask for people under a certain category, in order to plan an interview or to get a wider scope on their latest feature.

Twitter’s hashtags have become a new phenomenon too, with businesses such as the BBC adopting them to promote their TV and radio shows and allowing viewers or listeners to have a discussion about the show. So not only is it sharing factual details, but it’s also creating a new community for people to talk. Retweets also allow users to get the word out quicker, so campaigns or charity runs are easier to promote.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com

It really is astounding to witness and be a part of this social media world. I can share my own views, so long as they don’t get me into trouble and I can integrate within this growing realm. The best thing about it though is that sometimes it feels as though you’re writing out your thoughts at the current time without even realising.

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