Is Social Media Losing Its Edge?

There’s no danger of social media going away any time soon, but the latest usage figures from sites like Statista might suggest a change on the horizon.


Many cite 1997 as the dawning of the age of social media with the arrival of website The idea was simple; create a profile, find people to connect with, and send each other messages. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The power of this type of social connectivity was identified early on as the platform was bought out for an incredible $125million after just three years, despite the fact that it had a mere 3.5 million users.


Three years later came the infamous Hot or Not site. The internet had unwitting unleashed the gateway drug to obscene vanity on a global scale and cyber bullying. If people weren’t posting a picture of themselves for personal gratification, then they were desperately sifting through unflattering pics of others to bring them down a peg or two.


Skipping forward three or four years, past Friendster and Myspace, and you arrive at the place where imagery and social connection really started to take off. Enter Mark Zuckerburg and Facemash. Havards answer to Hot or Not quickly became blended with the idea of messaging your friends and telling the world what you had for breakfast, and somehow Facebook was born.


The concept of constantly updating the world with every fascinating detail of our lives became the norm over the years and various platforms were created to facilitate this strange desire. The majority of new ideas are essentially a variation on past creations but with a tweak here and there. 


Is social media usage in decline?

Well, yes and no. The figures from Statista showing the time spent on social media by country don’t paint a clear picture until you compare them to those of the previous year.


On average, the amount of time spent on sites such as Facebook and Instagram has fallen by around 10 minutes per user from 2019 to 2020. There are, of course, are few exceptions bucking the trend but they are in the minority.


10 minutes may not sound a lot, but when you consider the fact that most of the world has spent 2020 at home without much to do, we could see a substantial decrease in usage time in 2021 as other daily activities come back into our lives and dominate our waking hours.


As internet penetration increases across the globe, it’s natural to see a year on year rise in the amount of people engaging with popular social media sites. Figures compiled by Datareportal show that over half the world are now connected to some form of social media, with a new account being created somewhere across the planet every 12 seconds.

So, if the amount of internet users is on the rise, why are they spending less time on social media?

How people are spending their time online in 2020


  • Gaming and gambling: one growth area that stands out above the rest, is the use of digital gaming. From role playing games to virtual slot machines at non gamstop casinos, there is an upward global trend in this type of entertainment. Many people are using casino guides such as to find welcome bonuses at new casinos. Many countries around the world have seen an all-time high in online gambling during 2020. The US, for example, has seen a 43% jump in poker site users and a massive 255% increase in first-time poker players.


  • Video streaming: the Q2 figures for 2020 released by Nielsen Global Media, show that the amount of hours spent streaming TV shows and movies in the US has jumped from 81.7 mins per day during the same quarter in 2019 to 142.5 minutes this year. Netflix ratings conclude that the most watched shows were Tiger King and Money Heist


  • Online meetings: inevitably, as most offices closed their doors and sent staff to work from home during the pandemic, the amount of hours spent on video conferencing software, such as Zoom and Skype, went through the roof. This trend is expected to head back down as the world — hopefully — returns to normal over the next 12 months. However, it’s widely acknowledged that we will see a sizable, permanent shift in the way many companies distribute their employee hours between on-site and remote working going forward.



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Written by: Special Contributor

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