Recent news that YouTube now has over 1 billion users a month is another milestone in the remorseless growth of social media. In the autumn, Facebook hit the 1 billion users a month mark and Twitter celebrated its seventh birthday, with 200 million active users and 400 million tweets a day.
All this sounds incredible, but really it’s not surprising, as these networks are very addictive. I never thought I would say it but, for me, life without social media is now unthinkable.
Social media in all its forms is rapidly becoming today’s most accessed communication platform. News often breaks on Twitter, for example, minutes if not hours before it reaches traditional media and stories spread around the world in seconds.
Of course, with 400 million tweets a day, there’s bound to be a lot of trivia – from what you’ve had for dinner to what your pet has done – and I’m sure many of us get exasperated about the sheer volume of tweets, which it is almost impossible to keep up with. However, for organisations, it is still a fast and effective way to reach an interested audience.
Facebook offers the scope for greater depth and interaction and allows businesses to create a more personalised and accessible resource for customers and potential customers to refer to. Posting well-made videos on YouTube on the other hand is an effective way to engage your target audience and entertain them. A video can often have much more impact than a photo.
Sometimes I think to myself why do I need (and use) all these social networks? But, like most people I am sure, I tend to use them in different ways. I check my tweets for what’s happening in the world, I go on Facebook to “talk” to family and friends and get the latest news from organisations I support, and I use YouTube for listening to music and for entertainment (which often then involves seeing adverts and videos made by organisations).
With audiences now in the billions, only an ostrich would ignore the communication potential of social networks. Now where’s that dancing pony video again?