Student Work

Understanding Social Media Demographics

According to Statistia, the top three social media sites are Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp. But WhatsApp and Messenger are both owned by Facebook, so really the third most popular independent social media site in the world is the Chinese site WeChat.

Facebook, with 2.5 billion users, is primarily intended as a site for keeping up with people you know in real life, your friends and family, but it has also become a major site for talking about news, politics, and hobbies, and for conducting virtual garage sales. They’re trying to compete with YouTube in the online video business, but remain second to YouTube. It was founded and remains the property of Mark Zuckerberg.

YouTube, with 2 billion users, began as a place where people could share videos they’d made, without any real social aspects. But as features like comments were added, YouTube became more and more social. It features profiles, called channels, comments and likes on videos, and recently added text-only posts and short, mobile-only videos. YouTube is trying very hard to be a full fledged social media site, but most users are still there to watch videos – I personally do 90% of my YouTube browsing on my Roku Smart TV.

WeChat is a posting, messaging, ride-hailing, mobile payment and casual gaming app created by the Chinese tech giant Tencent. It is very much a mobile-first, app first experience. It has a web interface, but you must scan a QR code from your phone to log into the website (though there are also desktop apps for Windows and Mac OS). This social media and much more app has over a billion users but is virtually unknown in the West.

Demographics are the statistics on what kind of person is most likely to use a particular social network. They are important because advertisers use demographics to target what adds you would run on a particular social network. There would be little point to running political adds that reach people too young to vote.

Facebook Demographics: Facebook is a bit more female than male and a bit more mobile than desktop, but those are small differences. 69% of American adults are on Facebook. Contrary to it’s reputation as a hangout for senior citizens, Facebook is in fact popular with all ages of adult, and a larger percentage (89%) of 18-29 year olds have a Facebook account than adults over 65(62%). Perhaps the perception that Facebook is for older people comes more from their absence on other social networking sites rather than a disproportionate presence on Facebook.

YouTube is the most popular social media site in America, a bit more popular than Facebook in the US (but less popular abroad.) very popular with literal children and teenagers. Statistics on children under 13 are hard to come by because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection act, which YT has been dinged by the government for violating. But 85% of teens age 13-17 are on YouTube, compared to around 50% on Facebook. YouTube is also slightly more male than female, the reverse of Facebook.

WeChat has essentially no market share in the US, so even though it has over one billion users worldwide it is irrelevant to American marketing unless you’re marketing specifically to Chinese-Americans and Chinese expats. In China, despite its reputation for omnipresence, WeChat is markedly more popular with young and middle aged adults than children or the elderly.

The average user spend 11 minutes and 34 seconds on YouTube, 38 minutes on Facebook, and 30 on WeChat.

The fastest growing social network is Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and ranks just behind WeChat.

As I said, a small majority of Facebook use is on mobile, WeChat is apparently primarily for mobile use, and I can’t find good information about YouTube.


Week 2 Research Assignment: E-Life, The Evolving Web

1. Today, do more people access the web using computers or mobile devices? Provide a resource that supports your answer. 

A small majority of all worldwide internet use is mobile. Asia(62%) and Africa (60%) are leading this trend, and are leading this trend. On our continent 52% of internet traffic is still from computers, 48% is mobile. South Americans are the least likely to use a smartphone or tablet – only 35% of traffic from South America is mobile

2 . Who controls the World Wide Web? What is it made up of?

No-one controls the World Wide Web, that’s the beauty of it. The internet is a interconnected network of billions of servers. The Internet Engineering Task Force sets voluntary web standards that make sure websites and browsers are compatible. That way things don’t go back to how they were when I was in high school and half the websites only worked with Internet Explorer. ICANN is the top level authority for registering domains and IP addresses, but they subcontract much of their work.

3. Who is Tim Berners Lee? What is he best known for?

Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989.

He is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a Web standards organization founded in 1994 which develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. He is a Director of the World Wide Web Foundation which was launched in 2009 to coordinate efforts to further the potential of the Web to benefit humanity.

A graduate of Oxford University, Sir Tim invented the Web while at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, in 1989. He wrote the first web client and server in 1990. His specifications of URIs, HTTP and HTML were refined as Web technology spread.

4. What is a blog? What is it used for?

This is a blog, it is used for sharing my thoughts about web design. My personal blog is used for my thoughts on politics, religion, food, and drink. More broadly, a blog, originally a contraction of “Web Log” is a public diary posted on the internet.

5. What is a “responsive” website design? 

Responsive web designs are designs that change depending on the device the person is using (ideally, on its screen size), so that they are good looking, or at least legible, on phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop.

6. Why are “responsive” website designs necessary? 

Because, no matter where you are in the world, a sizable percentage large amount of internet traffic is mobile, and a sizable percentage is not. Coding only for computer or only for mobile means that at least a third of your users will have an ugly and difficult experience.

7. What is SEO, and why should website owners/managers be concerned with SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and the better your SEO is the more people can find you using Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo. (Please, people, stop just using Google, they shouldn’t have a monopoly.)

8. What is dynamic content? 

Dynamic content (aka adaptive content) refers to web content that changes based on the behavior, preferences, and interests of the user. It refers to websites as well as e-mail content and is generated at the moment a user requests a page.

9. What is a content management system? You work with one, what is it’s name?

A content management system (CMS) is any program that lets you create a more-or-less fully featured website without being able to code HTML. This site is created in the WordPress CMS. Other CMSes are Google Sites, Joomala (more advanced, less user friendly), SharePoint, and Squarespace(more user friendly, less powerful). There are also specialized CMSes like Moodle for educational institutions or MailChimp for HTML emails.

10. What is a youtube channel? Who might want to start one?

A youtube channel comes free with any gmail account, you don’t need to do anything special to open one. It is an account that you can use to post videos or comments on YouTube. Anyone who wants to share videos of some kind with the public should use their YouTube channel actively. Trinity Episcopal Church has started an active YouTube account for posting services during the lockdown and will continue streaming our worship after we re-open.