Top Websites 2023: Social Media Importance and Definition

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Social Media Definition
investopedia / Julie Bang


What Is Social Media?

The phrase “social media” refers to a variety of technologies that facilitate communication amongst their users. Nearly 60% of the world’s population, or more than 4.7 billion individuals, utilize social media, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and X platform (formerly Twitter).1In the first few months of 2023, 94.8% of users accessed chat and messaging websites and apps, while 94.6% of users went to social networks.2


Through virtual networks and communities, digital technology known as social media promotes the interchange of ideas and knowledge, including text and images.
Social media user content typically promotes engagement through likes, shares, comments, and discussions.
Social media is used by more than 4.7 billion people worldwide.
Social media is praised for building a sense of community while simultaneously drawing criticism for promoting hate speech and misinformation.
Social media is being used in marketing campaigns more and more frequently.
Facebook, WeChat, WhatsApp, and Instagram are the top five social media platforms in the globe.

Why Social Media Started and How It Has Changed

Social media started off as a way for people to connect with their friends and family, but it quickly expanded to meet a variety of requirements. In 2004, MySpace became the first network with one million active users per month.3

The popularity of social media increased dramatically in the years that followed with the launch of Facebook and Twitter (now known as X platform). Businesses rushed to these platforms in order to quickly establish connections with clients on a global scale.

According to the Global Web Index, 46% of internet users worldwide get their news from social media. 40% of individuals, on the other hand, go to news websites to view the news. Gen Z and Millennials were the groups most likely to consume news on social media in comparison to earlier generations.2

It is not surprising that social media plays a key role in the marketing initiatives of many companies given the tremendous amount of time people spend daily on social media websites and applications. With relatively new apps like TikTok, Signal, and Clubhouse entering the ranks of well-known social networks like Facebook, YouTube, X platform, and Instagram, social media is a sector that is continuously expanding.

What Social Media Are Used For Today

Six basic categories are used to classify social media platforms: social networking, social bookmarking, social news, media sharing, microblogging, and online forums.

These different platforms satisfy a wide range of user tastes and needs. Others are appealing to people who are employed, while some are to amateurs. People use them to find individuals throughout the world who share their political or other opinions. On social media, politicians engage with voters, performers with followers, and charities with donors. Governments routinely use social media to share crucial information during emergencies.

Social media has evolved into an essential tool for business promotion. Businesses utilize it to connect with customers, have conversations with them, boost sales through marketing and advertising, identify rapidly emerging consumer trends, provide customer service or support, and occasionally secretly collect user data.


a measure of the proportion of online users between the ages of 16 and 64 who recently visited a social networking site.1

Pros and Cons of Social Media

Social media platforms provide for real-time information access, human contact, and the identification of niche communities. It improves global connection when it operates effectively.

Social media is, however, also tremendously powerful in sowing discord, deceit, and even unfavorable psychological effects.

However, a 2019 survey by the Pew Research Center found that social media users have more friends and more varied personal networks, especially in emerging countries.4Around 80% of teenagers say social media makes them feel more connected to their classmates, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey of American youths aged 13 to 17. Social media, according to one-third of respondents, has generally had a beneficial impact on them, while 59% claimed it has had neither a positive nor a negative impact.5

Although many teenagers use social media excessively, there are worries that this could harm their physical and mental health by “distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives, and peer pressure,” as the Mayo Clinic notes.6

Businesses have now learned that social media is an often effective and cost-effective tool for connecting with customers and building a brand’s reputation. According to reports, Facebook is used by more than 200 million small businesses for a variety of purposes.7Separately, approximately 90% of marketers assert that they use Facebook to advertise.8

In 2022, social media and search accounted for almost 55% of all global advertising spending. Additionally, it is the advertising channel’s fastest-growing sector.