An estimated 1.4 Billion* people worldwide use social media, but the top 13* worldwide social media sites estimate to have 5 Billion* user accounts. That means if you just take into account the top social media sites and split them evenly across the social media population, each person on average then has 3 social media accounts. Now of course you will have some people who use just 1 account and other “power users” who use around 7, but from the numbers I have gathered you can easily tell that the trend for more people to use more than one social site is on the rise. Now take into account that there are plenty of other smaller social sites out there and that more and more people each day are becoming new social users and your mind starts to wonder where we will be in one year!
It is overwhelming when you start looking at how much time is then spent on these individual sites. Estimates show that the average social user spends around 20%* of their time on social media sites which is roughly around 7 hours a month (this could be a little less or a lot more depending on what type of user you are). These numbers show that Social Media sites are starting to dominate the internet and will continue to grow over the next few years. So how will people handle all of these different sites and the immense amount of social data that they will encounter on a daily basis?
Many businesses and marketers have turned to social management applications such as HootSuite, SproutSocial, Postling, Sendiable, Seesmic (now a part of HootSuite), and many others to help handle all of the sites and information. Some power users have turned to Ping.fm and Tweetdeck to help them keep up with all of their various social accounts as well. There are also newer sites emerging like SocialPoint.me and OneMeWorld.com that are trying to help the everyday user with these same problems. But this poses a bigger question… will the “everyday user” start using these sites more in the future to take the bulk of the daily social media information and using the actual sites less, or will people cut down on the number of sites they use and just pick one or two.
I believe that the marketers and power users will always use some type of management application, but it will be interesting to see if this happens with the regular users who just become overwhelmed with social media or would like to spread themselves across multiple sites. Now of course none of these applications are out to replace the individual sites as they will also be needed to access the full panel of unique features that they offer, but they can and will help “make sense of it all” or save you time and allow you to fully immerse yourself in all the different social sites.
It is really unknown how the entire social media picture will play out, but indications are that Social Media is and will stay a big part of online users’ lives for the foreseeable future. The only question right now is how to enhance these experiences and I believe that a social management application will be a must really soon.
1.4 Billion users : emarketer
13 top sites: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter,
Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare, Pinterest, QQ, Qzone, Sina
5 Billion accounts: expandedramblings.com
Slideshare.com “social state of 2013”