How Big Was the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and Social Media in 2010

Is this just a fad?  Heck no. Right now we are in the midst of a massive global reinvention when it comes to technology, marketing and communications.  This is not just a shift from analog to digital, but from centralized control to distributed systems.  In what feels like warp speed, technology has transformed from a single user experience to a global social fabric.

And mobile devices are the Gutenberg presses of today’s generation.  This is not a bubble; it’s a revolution.

For example, look at the revolution unfolding in Egypt, but not that kind of political revolution per se.

In this video you will notice the events of the day are not being captured by film crews and news reporters.  They are being documented by people with their mobile phones, and then sharing the images, comments and video with their network of contacts via emerging media channels – and worldwide.

Take another look at the video and count the number of illuminated mobile phone screens being raised overhead to capture pictures and video as the scenes unfold in the streets.

This is a fundamental shift in how we communicate and consume news and content.  It is not just a shift from a PC to handsets, but a shift from disconnected and isolated members of developing nations to connected global citizens.

This segment on the “Today” show (NBC-TV) from 1994 demonstrates just how far we have come in a mere 17 years.

Last week, I was talking with a colleague and he pointed out that people in the developing world (emerging markets as we now like to call them) have mobile phones before they have clean water or toilets.  For example, India has more than 500 million mobile subscribers and fewer than 400 million Indians have access to toilets.

By their nature, phones were born social to connect us with others.  First with voice, then with text.

Now, phones are packed with capabilities such as photos, videos and a wave of nascent web applications. We are just beginning to catch a glimpse of what a powerful and disruptive force this can be.

By recognizing this significant media shift, and how populations worldwide are now organizing, communicating and stimulating grassroots movements it begs the question:

“At what point in the future will 2 million, 3 million, or even 5 million citizen-led organizations shift our awareness to the possibility that we will have fundamentally changed the way human beings govern and organize themselves?”

To illustrate the speed and depth at which social media continues to accelerate, check out these statistics recently released by Pindom.

If you think this a fad, you’re living in the Dark Ages.

Some highlights:

88.8 million .com domain names.
There are 255 million websites
1.97 billion internet users worldwide.
480 million – New email users since the year before.
107 TRILLION emails were sent in 2010.

In Social media
152 million – The number of blogs on the Internet (as tracked by BlogPulse).
25 billion – Number of sent tweets on Twitter in 2010
100 million – New accounts added on Twitter in 2010
175 million – People on Twitter as of September 2010
7.7 million – People following @ladygaga (Lady Gaga, Twitter’s most followed user).
600 million – People on Facebook at the end of 2010.
250 million – New people on Facebook in 2010.

30 billion – Pieces of content (links, notes, photos, etc.) shared on Facebook per month.
70% – Share of Facebook’s user base located outside the United States.
20 million – The number of Facebook apps installed each day.

2 billion – The number of videos watched per day on YouTube.
35 – Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
186 – The number of online videos the average Internet user watches in a month (USA).
84% – Share of Internet users that view videos online (USA).
14% – Share of Internet users that have uploaded videos online (USA).
2+ billion – The number of videos watched per month on Facebook.
20 million – Videos uploaded to Facebook per month.

5 billion – Photos hosted by Flickr (September 2010).
3000+ – Photos uploaded per minute to Flickr.
130 million – At the above rate, the number of photos uploaded per month to Flickr.
3+ billion – Photos uploaded per month to Facebook.
36 billion – At the current rate, the number of photos uploaded to Facebook per year.

Brian Wendel is Vice President-Client Engagement at Financial Dynamics ( in New York City. He can be reached at or @bpwendel.

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