Social networks have changed the world. It is a fact. Today, there are an estimated 4.8 billion active users worldwide. Converted into percentages, this is 60.6% of the world’s population, varying from different Facebook, InstagramX (eg. Twitter) and so on. Over the past 12 months, at least 173 million users have registered, a growth rate of +3.7% per year, an average of 5.5 users per second. Analysts predict that this number will approach 6 billion by 2027. The most used are Facebook (almost 3 billion), Instagram and TIK Tak favorites among young people.
What’s trending most on social media today? Short videos, so-called videos, lasting a maximum of one minute. The time the average user spends on social media is about 2 hours and 26 minutes per day. Considering that the average sleep duration is 7 to 8 hours, this is 15% of the average day. Most users attribute their use to an interest in staying in touch with friends and family. Today, among the mentioned goals, following celebrities and influencers is becoming less important.
However, let’s take a step back and start with the figure of the influencer. He is a popular character on the platforms, who is therefore highly followed in the world of media, capable of influencing the choices and behavior of the public, the so-called followers, through the publication of certain content. And these heroes of social networks are bloggers, video makers, models, athletes, singers. With a talent that unites them: they create content, that is, in digital jargon, the gods content creators. And so brands started looking to these numbers for their communication strategies. Hence the million-dollar fortune of some people, especially in the fashion industry, such as Kylie Jenner, Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) and Selena Gomez.
“Our” Chiara Ferragni even managed to become case studies at Harvard. Born in 1987, she is one of the most influential people in the world. His success, as we know, began thanks to the blog The Blonde Salad, opened in 2009, which has grown more and more over the years. Over the years, the 36-year-old has also transformed herself into a digital entrepreneur, having seen her companies’ revenues double. According to Sun 24 hours, Fenice srl, which controls the Chiara Ferragni brand, whose entire business is related to brand licensing (from clothing to jewelry), effectively closed last year with revenues of 14.2 million euros and a turnover with a retail value of 61 million. The TBS team, which instead takes care of all other activities of the influencer and his employees, from consulting to digital marketing for image management, grew from 7.1 million per year to 14.6 million.
However, there is also so-called “social instability”. Having grown up with the constant offer of an over-the-top lifestyle, many have taken to platforms with the goal of gaining as many followers as possible in the name of their favorite reference character. A criterion, which is no longer sufficient, requires a certain authority. Excessive living is no longer a standard; on the contrary, it often becomes an object of contempt and criticism. Users have become more aware and are actively participating precisely because they realize their importance in the follower-influencer relationship. In addition, it should be emphasized that today, increasingly informed consumers are seeking to connect directly with a brand. Among the most important trust factors we find environmental sustainability.
But we can also talk about inequality in relation to the use of social networks. For example, in East and Central Africa, only one in eleven people use them (not forgetting that we are talking about an area where Internet connections are not very widespread), and in India this figure is one in three. However, today social networks at the global level are the main means of obtaining information. In fact, about half of users say they get their latest news from social media rather than traditional sources like TV or radio. And this is especially true among boys.
This also applies to current events, but social media shows us the dark side of this phenomenon. The Palermo rape is just the latest example. The fury of the pack is now expressed by filming violence, which is transformed into a video that has even been paid for on Telegram, receiving many requests. Or like the story of YouTubers Casal Palocco, known as The Borderline. “Every euro earned in YouTube will be spent on creating absurd and unique videos,” we read on their channel. In the last competition, they had to drive a supercar for 50 hours straight. Another extreme problem in which they became the main characters. The dream of achieving success on social networks led to a terrible road traffic incident on June 14, which resulted in the death of a five-year-old child. Tragedy. What can we trace this to? The desire for fame in the most desperate ways. A phenomenon that indicates an inability to live with reality, leading to the fact that likes are worth more than human life.
◊ Data used is from Global Digital Report 2023 – Kepios.