How Does the World Use Social Media?

Technology brings us closer in a way few other things can. More people gain access to the Internet every day. In light of this, what does social media usage look like around the globe?

Here’s a surprising fact. Did you know that 6 out of 7 people have access to the Internet through a mobile or fixed line connection? How about another one: Of the 7.1 billion people in the world, almost a quarter now use social networks. Let’s look at how that usage breaks down around the world and across the most popular platforms.


The world’s largest population of Internet users is in China. Facebook has been blocked on mainland China for years. Even without China, though, Facebook has over a billion active users. Interestingly, it is especially popular as a primary platform for sharing content in South America and Asia-Pacific. Its piece of the social media pie is smaller in the rest of the world. That includes North America. At the end of the day, though, Facebook sweeps the board. It comes in as the favorite platform of users worldwide.


Twitter comes in as the most popular primary content-sharing platform in Europe. That’s the only place where it gave Facebook a run for its money. It is less popular in North and South America. Users in these areas seem to prefer sharing on Facebook to Twitter.


LinkedIn is another widely used sharing site. Interestingly, it is far more popular in the Middle East and Africa than elsewhere in the world. The percentage of users here beats LinkedIn’s next most popular market (North America) by six points. LinkedIn is mostly used by web-savvy professionals. That means limited Internet access for other social groups in these regions may explain why the data looks this way.


Google has tried to get Google+ to take off. Despite its efforts, the platform has yet to gain much popularity anywhere in the world. There are a handful of primary users in every region. Their numbers are small when compared to those of giants like Facebook and Twitter, though.


Pinterest has gained a tiny toehold. It has users in South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Its most popular market by far, though, is North America. A whopping 29% of North American users turn to Pinterest as their primary sharing platform. It beats out Google+, LinkedIn, and even Twitter. It seems North Americans are far more interested in creating digital scrapbooks than the rest of the world.

Continued Growth

The number of people with access to Internet is growing all the time. So is the number of social media users. Emerging markets like Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa are contributing to this growth. The trends don’t look like they’ll slow or stop any time soon. It will be interesting to see how the numbers shift as more and more people join the online conversation.