Social apps on an iPhone screen (Pexels photo)

EDITORIAL: You don’t have to use social media, but you should be aware of what’s out there and who’s using it

In a time where a tweet can change the world, it’s important to know what’s happening online

Social media is a large part of daily life, and has been for the better part of this decade. At its inception, there were few options for social media beyond MySpace and Facebook. Now the field is crowded with platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the newest of all: TikTok.

YouTube has the highest usage among adults, with 73 percent of adults using the platform according to statistics from the Pew Research Centre. It also has the highest usage among youth, with 90 percent of people aged 18-24 using the platform. YouTube is growing among Canadians over 50, with 67 percent of Gen X and 50 percent of Baby Boomers on YouTube.

Facebook continues to be the platform with the largest daily usage, despite continued controversy around privacy, fake news, and political advertising. According to Canadiansinternet.com, 88 percent of Canadian millennials use Facebook weekly, with 83 percent of Gen X, and 79 percent of Baby Boomers.

Instagram is most popular with youth, and is slowly growing in popularity with adults. 75 percent of youth aged 18-24 use Instagram, compared to 47 percent of 30-49 year olds. The same is true of Snapchat, a social media platform where users send temporary photos and videos to friends. 75 percent of youth use Snapchat, compared to 3 percent of adults.

Twitter and LinkedIn both have higher usage rates among young adults with higher household income and education than other platforms, and are primarily used by people 25-49. Twitter has become infamous for its adoption among politicians, particularly American politicians.

Pinterest is used by 28 percent of adults. The primary users of the site are women at 42 percent compared to 15 percent of men.

TikTok is a platform where users can upload short videos, often to popular music.41 percent of TikTok users are teens. TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world with 500 million active users worldwide. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh gained prominence among youth for his use of TikTok while campaigning in the 2019 election.

The world is more connected than ever. In a time where a Tweet can change the world, Facebook is considered a primary source for news and events, and politicians campaign on TikTok; it’s important to be aware of what these platforms are, how they work, and who uses them.

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