The term social media refers to a computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, thoughts, and information through virtual networks and communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content, such as personal information, documents, videos, and photos. Users engage with social media via a computer, tablet, or smartphone via web-based software or applications. While social media is ubiquitous in America and Europe, Asian countries like Indonesia lead the list of social media usage. More than 4.5 billion people use social media, as of October 2021.
Social media originated as a way to interact with friends and family but was later adopted by businesses that wanted to take advantage of a popular new communication method to reach out to customers. The power of social media is the ability to connect and share information with anyone on Earth, or with many people simultaneously.
There are more than 3.8 billion social media users around the world. Social media is an ever-changing and ever-evolving field, with new apps such as TikTok and Clubhouse coming out seemingly every year, joining the ranks of established social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. By 2023, the number of social media users in the United States is forecast to increase to approximately 257 million.
According to the Pew Research Center, social media users tend to be younger. Nearly 90% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 used at least one form of social media. Further, these users tend to be better educated and relatively wealthy, or earning over $75,000 per year.