Facebook fit. It’s been said that a species’ evolutionary success depends more on its adaptability than any other trait. That apparently holds true for a social media platform’s staying power, too. Facebook continues to flourish despite two hugely disruptive developments that, at least in theory, should have had a negative impact on its standing in the social media landscape: the proliferation of other social media platforms, and web surfers’ sudden and dramatic shift from desktop computers to mobile devices (and the resulting decrease in the value of cookies for tracking web surfers). According to Forbes, a key to the social media giant’s resilience may be Facebook Login. Rolled out in 2008 as Facebook Connect, Facebook Login allows its users to sign onto apps and other web sites by using their Facebook information, thereby eliminating a Facebook user’s need to remember or re-enter user names and passwords. The fact that Login allows advertisers to track Facebook users across platforms: (1) eliminates the need for cookies; and (2) means that Facebook users’ information remains valuable to advertisers whether or not the users spend their digital hours on Facebook itself. And, according to a recent report, adoption of Login by major websites continues to increase, further bolstering Facebook’s ability to weather future disruptions in the social media industry.
All’s a-twitter. Having been retweeted more than 3.3 million times—more than any other tweet—Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie was designated “The Golden Tweet” by Twitter’s chief communications officer in his year-end roundup of the social media platform’s 2014 highlights. The most popular hashtags on Twitter this year included #BringBackOurGirls, in response to the mass kidnapping of young females in Nigeria, and #BlackLivesMatter, regarding the Ferguson protests. The deaths of Maya Angelou, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams were also the subject of a significant number of tweets in 2014.
Are we less social? Social media may have peaked in the United States, a survey by the British telecom regulator Ofcom shows. Fifty-four percent of the 1,000 U.S. adults who participated in the survey reported visiting a social network at least once a week, compared to the 56% who reported having done so in 2013. That’s hardly enough to warrant sounding the U.S. social media death knell, however, especially when you consider that—according the analytics company comScore—the total U.S. Internet population increased 10.6% from 225.3 million to 249.4 million last year. The decline in weekly social media use among the British from 2013 to 2014 was much more significant, according to Ofcom; the number of UK residents making weekly network visits dropped from 65% to 56% over that period.