It's easy to forget that the internet as we know it is quite new (the actual internet, however, has been around since the Sixties). Many of us can still remember when it was called the world wide web and in its pre-social media infancy. Indeed, some of us can even recall a time before widespread internet access at all.
Fast forward to 2020, and life without internet giants like Google, Instagram and Facebook seem unimaginable. In a short timeframe – Instagram has only been around since 2010! – these services have become cultural and even political powerhouses.
On the surface, their dominance seems insurmountable. But dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll discover an interesting shift taking place.
Growth in the adoption of major social platforms has slowed down. In some countries, it's a story of outright decline. Facebook usage has plummeted by more than a third over the past 12 months in the UK. In the US, it's a similar story.
To be clear, these users haven't all logged-off and gone off the grid. They are still active online, but they’ve just gone elsewhere. There is more choice than ever.
In recent years, several other niche social media platforms have not only emerged but have significantly risen to popularity.
TikTok, for example, has captured the imagination of teens with its hyper-viral and weird user-generated videos. B2B companies have shifted their focus to LinkedIn. Houzz, a social website about home decorating ideas, has quickly become popular, while the gaming community has flocked to Twitch.