The Pew Research Center’s report on social media usage made it extremely clear that Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform amongst internet users. I’ll admit, I skimmed the three page report; but, almost every other paragraph mentioned Facebook’s popularity.
Like all research reports and findings can be, it was a bit redundant and pretty boring. There was nothing that made me take a step back and say, “Wow, how interesting.” I could have hypothesized similar results. Like, duh Facebook is the most popular social media site. It combines elements of Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, email and GroupMe. Apparently, Facebook is also about recycle Venmo’s money transfer idea.
As far as social media sites go, Facebook is the one stop shop. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn fail to get the same traction because they specialize. Twitter is all about sharing your thoughts and ideas, but it limits you to 140 characters. Instagram focuses on pictures, but limits your ability to organize them. Pinterest is about looking at pretty things, but it’s not your reality. LinkedIn allows you to promote yourself professionally, but its boring. It’s not fun to look at other peoples promotions, resumes and employment anniversaries.
Facebook offers more. You can see entire photo albums, link out to a fun Buzzfeed quiz, ignore someone’s lengthy rant, help someone out with a project by taking a survey they posted etc. Overall, you can interact on so many more levels than just a “like,” “retweet,” or short comment. With Facebook you can share articles, videos and pictures, which replaces the need to visit Vine, Instagram and certain websites. You can create group pages, which are super helpful for things like class projects because they show everyone’s comments as they go along as opposed to email threads that end up looking like this:
Group pages also allow you to share pictures, links and videos more easily than email or text message would.
In my last blog post, I mentioned how important communal calendar apps would be, and Facebook is the closest thing we have at this point. What’s really keeping Facebook in the lead is its ability to create and remind you about events. (Side note: I would forget so many of my friends’ birthdays without it.) Organizing events, dates, parties etc. is made easier with Facebook calendar because it replaced the whole e-vite thing you do on email. I have 1,181 friends on Facebook but only keep up with like 300 of them, and by “keep up” I mean see them frequently when I’m on campus or going out. Post-college, that number will be cut in half at least. Anyway, of those 300, I only have like 15 of their email addresses. With Facebook events, you can invite anyone so long as you know their name — no email necessary.
These few things don’t begin to cover the extent to which Facebook has simplified communication. It has been a trail blazer while also adapting to new forms of communication. I get that the Pew Research Center wanted to show some statistics, but I would be more surprised if anyone saw the results coming out any differently.