The past decade brought massive changes to the way social media and online platforms are being used and perceived both in the United States and around the world. YouTube is now the most popular online platform with 73% of Americans saying they use YouTube either on their mobile device or a desktop computer.
Facebook is close behind with 69 of Americans exchanging messages on this social media but the very fact that a largely non-interactive platform such as YouTube is far ahead of social media services like LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter and WhatsApp says a lot about the technology usage trends that have developed during the years between 2010 and 2020.
YouTube Is By Far the Most Popular Platform
Another trend worth noting is that online platforms such as Instargram and Pinterest gain pace and become more popular that chatting and messaging apps bar Facebook. One probable reason is that many celebrities and popular brands are on Instagram and Pinterest, posting viral and engaging content there but it still shows that people are moving from pure communication channels to online platforms that offer both entertainment and engaging content.
Also, YouTube is a source of information for increasing number of people who do not read books but instead prefer to watch all sorts of content in the form of video streams and films. The rise of YouTube is due to a large collection of movies readily available to stream online for free but also on how-to clips and educational videos that are a preferred choice for younger generations.
Online Now Means Mobile
Users are going increasingly mobile when online activities are concerned and this is not an American phenomenon only. Actually, people in other regions such as Latin America and Asia are using the Internet on the go more frequently than people in North America.
Nonetheless, we see a lasting trend here as only 2% and 6% of Americans aged 65+ and 50-64 were using their phones to go online in 2013 while in 2019 their share increased to 15% and 27%, respectively. With over half of Americans between 18 and 49 years of age using Internet on the their phones, some 37% of all adult Americans are now online on their smartphone on a regular basis.
If it looks like a no big deal to you, then you should forget about metropolitan America of New Your and Los Angeles and recall that rural America accounts for the most of the U.S. population. This is a big shift in how the Americans use the Internet and the number of mobile users will grow steadily with more young people entering the online space.
People Lose Trust in Tech Companies
A number of large and small tech companies made some grave mistakes during the past decade by entering political games as well as failing to protect their users' data on many occasions.
The examples of IT companies enabling political machinations and manipulations by ill-intended actors are numerous and well-know. Data breaches that reveal sensitive personal data occur on a daily basis with billions of online accounts already exposed.
Inevitably, the trust in tech companies is waning with 33% of all American believing that IT companies have a negative effect on how the things are going in their country.
Negative Perception of IT Firms Grows in the US
Source: Pew Research
Even more alarmingly, only 44% of those who describe themselves as Republicans believe that technology companies have whatever positive effect on their country. And if you can blame President Trump's tweets for such a negative attitude toward technologically advanced companies (mostly his tweets concerning social media and online media outlets perceived as member of the tech community), then you also need to explain why only 54% of Democrat voters are of opinion that the IT industry positively affects the recent developments in the United States.
Actually, 72% of Americans believe that social media platforms actively censor political views expressed on their websites. Dissecting these figures in depth is hard as censorship has many faces but the very fact that two-thirds of Americans have a feeling of censorship online does not speak well for how the average US citizen perceives the world of online communications and online media that largely replaces traditional sources of information and debating.
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