Facebook might have become the most powerful social network company in the world, but today’s social media landscape is far more dense than . It goes beyond the photo-sharing craze of Instagram, the fandom wars of Tumblr, and the citizen journalism of Twitter. Social media has become the primary way by which users access news, get answers, and communicate. They post ‘selfies’, they send Snapchats, they pin recipes, and create vlogs (video logs).
Merriam-Webster dictionary says the first known use of the term “social media” was in 2004, and the usual definition is that of by which users can create and share content, and participate in social networking. This was the year Facebook came to life, and image-hosting platform Flickr was launched. Social networks like MySpace and LinkedIn ruled the space, and for creating a personal, free blog. YouTube hadn’t even been invented.
In 2005, things really started to take shape: Facebook was a hit among students, to which it was an exclusive back then, social networks Bebo and Orkut were starting, and Yahoo announced this thing called ‘social commerce’. The following year, Google bought YouTube, Twitter was launched and Facebook opened to the public. Tumbler saw the light of day in 2007.
Only in 2008 did Facebook surpass MySpace in number of users, but by 2009 “Unfriend” was already an expression recognised by the Oxford English dictionary. In 2011, Google gave it a second go (it had acquired Orkut to little success, except in Brazil) and launched Google Plus, which is now tied to its other services like Gmail. In 2012, Facebook reached the unbelievable mark of 1 billion users; it now has 1,39 billion active monthly users. WordPress, which became the most popular blogging platform, has over 75 million blogs.
There are over 500 social sites and apps, and the numbers are astonishing: 700 million users on WhatsApp, 225 million blogs on Tumblr, 300 million users on Instagram, 288 million users on Twitter, 1 billion users on YouTube, 540 monthly active users on Google +, and the list goes on.
The top sites are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest, even though it is hard to get accurate numbers for registered users and active users.