The Social Landscape in 2021
By Kelly Smith, Digital & Agency Manager
January 8, 2021
Am I using the right platforms? Am I reaching my audiences? Am I saying the right thing in the right way? Am I wasting my time and resources? Are we creating any return? Social media has left us with loads of questions year after year, and after a year like 2020 where social media usage and best practices have shifted dramatically, it’s hard to pinpoint answers.
There were two things that have truly defined the shifts in social usage between 2019 and 2021: the global pandemic and politics, both with one major element in common: a struggle between trust and misinformation scandals.
COVID-19 forced global populations indoors for work and play, ending traditional forms of socialization and work, and removing usual time-sucks like commuting to work and school. With not much other than the internet to keep busy, this move effectively increased the daily amount of time spent on social media accounts to an average of almost 2.5 hours per day (Hootsuite, July 2020).
With so much more downtime in a time of uncertainty (any time on this said internet, and you’ll know as well as I do that that phrase is so April 2020 – apologies), people turned to their newsfeeds for daily hope, socialization, and the most up-to-date news and information. Add to this the vast number of people looking to participate in the narrative by spreading what they read to keep their inner circles in the loop, and this formula was ripe for spreading misinformation, which led to censorship concerns with the big social media players, questioning our democratic processes in a highly tense election year, racial tensions and targeting, and raising health concerns among communities continuing to share health-related misinformation. To top it all off, trust in social networks has further been put under the microscope with the latest antitrust suit against the biggest player: Facebook.
Despite the flurry of investigations, misinformation, and heightened tensions in the social community, social media is so engrained in society that it has had little impact in usage. It does, however, have an impact on what you should post and share on social platforms moving into 2021.
Social Behaviors in 2021
The effects of the pandemic are here to stay – for now. That means, more people using at least one social media platform, more time spent on social media, and more users actively engaging in content on social media. Here is where the stats stood in the summer of 2020 (Hootsuite, July 2020):
At the top of the platforms, Facebook still reigns with 2,603,000,000 active monthly users globally (Hootsuite, July 2020):
And for users overlapping platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube still capture the largest percentages and overlaps for the market (Hootsuite, July 2020):