Time for some numbers, as we close 2016 and open 2017.
There are (almost) 7.5 billions people and over 3 billions have access to Internet. That's a lot, but if you look at the other side of the coin over 4 billions people do not have access to the Internet, and that's even more. If you want to see the bright side, you can say that this represents a business opportunity for further growth.
Interestingly, 2/3 of those having access to Internet use Social Media. This means over 2 billion people are using a social dimension that was not existing in the last century, and that is just 16 years ago. This is, and is creating, a new way of being in touch; it might prove that the Dumbar number, after all, is no longer valid in the cyberspace. True, I cannot say that the thousands of contacts that I have in my "book", in LinkedIn and the hundreds in Facebook qualifies as friends or even acquaintances. Yet, I can leverage on each of them if need arise. And symmetrically, I am contacted from time to time by some of them that were lost on memory lane.
The number of people using Social Media keeps growing, close to 200 million new users in 2016, and even more interesting new users and old ones are rapidly moving onto the use of mobile connections, increasing by 1 million every day (that is 360+ millions in 2016). Facebooks opens 6 new profiles every second.
Social Media users are really using Social Media: Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages every day. 1/3 of the time spent on Internet is spent on Social Media.
People are taking the web for granted, it has become a seamless companion. Google has responded to 1.2 trillion queries (over 100 billion per month, 40,000 per second). What I find most amazing is that 16 to 20% of the queries Google receives any single day have never been asked before. This means, by far, that we use the web for living the "present", we are searching for something that is happening "now". As such it is not a surprise that over 50% of the queries are generated through a mobile device.
In this sense, the web is not an archive, a world wide encyclopaedia, even though it contains over 30,000 billion pages: it is our life.
In 2016 the "shared economy" has grown even further. Airbnb has hosted more guests than Marriott. LinkedIn has become, with its 450 million accounts a real market place for jobs. When we, as EIT Digital, publish a job opening on LinkedIn we get hundreds of applications within a few hours.
In a way this is another face of Social Media taking a higher relevance, beyond Social aspects.
To close, let me point to an interesting study carried out by Facebook Research in February 2016. What is the degree of separation among people on Facebook? (that is, how far am I, on average, from any other person on Facebook that I could reach by linking to friends of friends of my friends... and so on?). It turns out the average is 3.57. Every person out of the 1.57 billion registered on Facebook at the beginning of 2016 could be reach any other person (on average) by using 3.5 intermediaries. This is way less than the 6 degrees of separation experimented by Stanley Milgram in 1967 (which made the news, although their scientific relevance was, to say the least, disputable).
The Internet, and the web, seems to strengthen our relationship, it makes our world smaller. In a way this is good news as we start a new year. The idea of being just 4 handshakes away from any other person on the planet should make feel us closer to one another and more willing to look into the eyes of our fellow voyagers on Earth spaceship, and more willing to help and smile to each other.
So Happy New Year ... for black and for white, for yellow and the red ones
let's stop all the fight