Social media has received a lot of flak over the past year. From Facebook’s U.S. senate hearing about its privacy scandal to Instagram’s recent child porn issues, few headlines have painted social apps in a positive light.
Take Twitter, for instance. With many on the platform publicly calling for their desire for a social media detox (ironically garnering thousands of likes in the process), the internet giant was recently blamed for causing everything from an anxiety epidemic to the death of journalism. Even LinkedIn—seemingly the most benign of all platforms—has been lampooned as being the worst of social media, combined with the worst of corporate culture, combined with the worst of website design. (It also doesn’t help that it takes Russian-hacker-level skills to try and unsubscribe from their emails.)
Despite that overwhelmingly negative sentiment toward social apps, though, people are still logging in.
This week, Vancouver-based social media scheduling company Hootsuite, in conjunction with brand management agency We Are Social, released its annual Digital Trends report. Digging into global developments as well as breaking them down by country, the document suggests that, across the world, the internet and social media is gaining traction.
More than one million new people go online every day, the report says, and nearly 45 percent of the world—nearly 3.5 billion people—are clicking on to their favourite social platforms.
In Canada, social use is a huge part of citizens’ days. On average, Canadians spend one hour and 47 minutes of their time on social media—a hefty figure considering that the majority of minutes are spent scrolling through posts rather than interacting with them. That time is buoyed by the amount of accounts each person holds, with the typical Canadian boasting an average of 6.7.
In 2018, 67 percent of the country used social media, with YouTube ranking as the most active platform. Next was Facebook, with Facebook Messenger and Instagram coming in at third and fourth. Canadians also like Twitter—but not as much as Pornhub.com, which registered a higher total volume of web traffic in the country than the 280-character firehose.
The report also yielded a few interesting stats about the country’s internet use in general. According to the document, the second most-searched-for term query on Google in 2018 was “weather”—a uniquely Canadian phenomenon. Number nine was “NHL”, while, bizarrely, the twelfth most popular ask was “Pizza Pizza”, ranking above Instagram at number 15.
Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays