Justin Bieber, the “bad boy” of entertainment, has over 63 million Twitter followers. Portuguese football great Cristiano Ronaldo has 35 million. Contrast that with international figures such as Pope Francis with only about 6 million followers, or British Prime Minister Cameron with a little over 3 million. News organizations (CNN, New York Times, etc.) all have low numbers in comparison to celebrities, as do major retailers, scientific agencies (e.g., NASA, CERN), and other political figures. What all of this says, probably, is that teenagers are the biggest users of Twitter, as followers. They like the short “blurbs” from their “heroes” which do not require thought and analysis.
Appeals of YouTube and Facebook
While Twitter has become a huge social media phenomenon, it really does not match YouTube in terms of popularity. Probably because of its diversity and video format, a much larger demographic accesses YouTube than Twitter. And an even larger demographic diversity uses Facebook, for it is a personalized method of keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances as well as engaging in dialogue. Again, however, what occurs on these two media sites does not require in depth thought, response, and analysis.
“Glitz” vs. Substance
The popularity of social media sites should not call for a condemnation of society as “shallow.” Rather, it reflects the desire of people in this age of instant access to get quick entertainment, while they use other sources for substantive information and “education.” Social media has its place, so long as it does not become the sole source of an individual’s connection to his/her world.
Infographic by: assignmentmountain