Facebook outage shows social media is now key to a thriving Internet

20140706_Facebook_ReutersWhen Google servers crashed last year, it brought the Internet to a standstill. As all Google services including Gmail, Drive, Maps and Chat suffered an outage, Internet traffic dropped around 40 percent during those five minutes. Recently, Facebook suffered a similar outage. But, unlike Google, the only three countries could not access the social networking website. Yet, it was enough to disrupt the overall traffic on the Internet to a certain extent.

Wondering how Facebook affects Internet traffic? You’ll be forgiven to believe that social media is no more than just a place to connect with people you can’t personally meet. But there’s more to it than just that. Like Google and other search engines, social media websites assert a great deal of control over Internet traffic, in driving traffic and creating the so-called viral content. For some social networks and the Internet are synonymous. Hate them all you want for their experiments and manipulation, but social networks are vital to a lot of individuals and businesses. Here’s why you can’t ignore them:

1. There ain’t no show without an audience

Some of the most popular social networking websites have active user numbers that exceed the total population of several countries. Facebook alone has 1.16 billion monthly active users, while Google+ and Twitter have over 200 million active users each. If you’re a marketer or just trying to get famous, you’ll know what that kind of reach can do to your reputation.

With stats like that, it’s almost certain that you can’t get news stories or videos to go viral without first publishing them on a social media website. But what do you do when your audience can’t see your post due to an outage? According to Alexa, Facebook is the second most-visited website after Google, while Twitter and LinkedIn fall in the top 25 most-visited websites in the world. So you can imagine traffic will plummet.

2. A good chunk of web traffic comes from social media

Reports show that people aren’t just using social media on mobile to share articles, they’re also clicking on them. If you think that’s too little to account for, think again. When Facebook had an outage last week, the overall traffic to news websites dropped 3 percent – according to a ChartBeat report showing just how social media can change the face of the Internet in a matter of minutes.

3. People are spending most of their Internet time on social networks

According to a study by Neilsen, Indians spend up to an hour for social networking per day. In fact, we spend more time on social media than for responding to emails. This is not a trend exclusive to India. According to Business Insider, an average American spends 37 minutes on social media – higher than any other major Internet activity, including email.

4. We’re increasingly turning to our mobile devices for information

We are constantly on our smartphones and tablets for maps, photos, music and communication. All this has caused us to ditch desktops for our mobile phones. According to a report by Comscore, mobile platforms combined to account for 60% of total Internet time spent, up from 50% a year ago. We also tend to engage more using mobile devices than with PCs, with a report that shows 63% of Twitter activity and 44% of Facebook activity happens on mobile.

Ok, but what does social media have to gain from this shift? The next reason explains this.

5. Most of our mobile Internet time is spent on social media

Now, the same report by ComScore shows that social media owns the mobile property with 31% mobile time spent on social networking websites. Facebook alone, accounts for 24% of all mobile time spent.

Even with an app for your website and no matter how popular, it can be hard to get the kind of reach social media has. While it might be hard to tap into this mobile market alone, it’s easier to make use of a social media platform that does the job for you.

Still surprised Internet traffic plummeted due to a random Facebook outage?

This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, Facebook, Social Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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