The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Trends in Social Media

Reference Number: MTAS-1754
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: August 10, 2016
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The trends in social media include a continued spread across demographics, some consolidation of services, as well as the number of users continuing to rise. Social media continues to add users with greater diversity, especially across at and income demographics. This includes increasing the number of users across the age and income demographics. The largest segment to grow over the last year has been in the 65 and older segment. In addition at least 70 percent of all internet users, regardless of income, use social networking.[5] Some consolidation has occurred among the different tools. Facebook acquired Instagram in the spring of 2012 for $1 billion dollars in cash and stock.[6] Facebook has continued to operate Instagram as a separate entity allowing the tools to integrate with one another. Facebook and Twitter see the value in making their services work well together. In the United States, Facebook is by far the most popular social media site. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are all very close in the rankings with one another. However, the most significant change for users has come in the form of mobile use. Over the last few years it has become clear that the future of social networking is via mobile devices. Smart phones, iPads, iPods, tablets and other mobile devices make connecting with one another much more accessible than being on a desktop computer tethered to a desk.

The number of registered users for each service has continued to climb. Facebook reports 1.590 billion, Twitter has 320 million, Instagram has 400 million, and LinkedIn has 433 million.[7]

The following sections will explore a few popular social media tools but is not all inclusive, as new tools are emerging daily. Before deciding which social media tool will be of most use to your city, you will need to do some research about the demographics in your community. Since the city's goal is to reach as many citizens in the city as possible, it is important to know which social media platforms citizens are using. After your city implements the use of social media, you will want to stay involved in the evolution of social media and continuously look for new ways of doing business through social media, while at the same time remaining cognizant of and being vigilant about not falling into the many pitfalls that come along with the use of social media.


[5] http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/

[6] http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/facebook-buys-instagram-for-1-billion/?_r=0

[7] http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/ &  https://www.linkedin.com/about-us

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