The trends in social media include a continued spread across demographics, some consolidation of services, as well as the number of users continuing to rise. Social media continues to add users with greater diversity, especially across age and income demographics. As the numbers have increased this has helped the user base grow more representative of the broader population. Young adults were the earliest adopters of social media but usage by older adults has increased in recent years. Some consolidation has occurred among the different tools. Facebook acquired Instagram in the spring of 2012 for $1 billion dollars in cash and stock. Facebook has continued to operate Instagram as a separate entity allowing the tools to integrate with one another. In the United States, Facebook is by far the most popular social media site. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are all very close in the rankings with one another. However, the most significant change for users has come in the form of mobile use. Over the last few years it has become clear that the future of social networking is via mobile devices. Smart phones, iPads, iPods, tablets and other mobile devices make connecting with one another much more accessible than being on a desktop computer tethered to a desk.
The number of registered users for each service has continued to climb. Facebook reports 2.2 billion, YouTube has 1.9 billion, Instagram has 1 billion, LinkedIn has 562 million, Twitter has 336 million, and Snapchat has 255 million active users.
The following sections will explore a few popular social media tools but is not all inclusive, as new tools are emerging daily. Before deciding which social media tool will be of most use to your city, you will need to do some research about the demographics in your community. Since the city's goal is to reach as many citizens in the city as possible, it is important to know which social media platforms citizens are using. After your city implements the use of social media, you will want to stay involved in the evolution of social media and continuously look for new ways of doing business through social media, while at the same time remaining cognizant of and being vigilant about not falling into the many pitfalls that come along with the use of social media.