To be social – “needing companionship and therefore best suited to living in communities or an informal social gathering, especially one organized by the members of a particular club or group”. In the modern age this no longer needs to be done in person, it can all be done without leaving your house. Facebook messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype mean you can interact with people much easier all over the world.
According to Ofcom, the use of social networks in several countries has actually felt a decline in 2014. Measuring web traffic to social networks compared to other websites, the UK regulator found some unsuspected results. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are seeing less weekly visits from users in major countries around the world.
The largest decline in weekly access to social networks coming from users in the UK – dropping from 65% to 56%. Declining use also in the US (from 56% to 54%), Japan (45% to 42%), and China (62% to 57%). Many countries also had increased number of visits, however, such as France, Italy, Australia and Spain.
These figure will have no cause for alarm for those running these social networks, as many have actually recorded increased usage and interaction over the last year. With 1.35 billion monthly active users on Facebook (Facebook 28/10/14), and 284 million active users on Twitter sending 500million tweets every day!
Increased usage of less “traditional social networks” has been highlighted as a catalyst to these figures. Users are still visiting social sites in the billions, but increase usage of online videos and messaging services are “cannibalizing social network usage” according to Ofcom. Users don’t need to visit a website to interact with their friends any longer, WhatsApp and other messaging services offer quicker and easier solutions.
Mobile Rules Them All
There is one winner from all of the Ofcom reports and figures, and that’s mobile usage. Social networking is the largest online use of your pocket computer. We have reported the rise of mobile browsing at several points this year. Even the rise of online shopping is nowhere near as popular as those social apps, tipping other activities such as reading the news, shopping and playing games in all but China and Japan.