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Local Social Media Cascading Effects

Social media applications are the most recent examples of information cascades, especially among today’s youth. While there are many popular social media apps nation- and worldwide, this doesn’t necessarily suggest that these apps would be popular everywhere in the country. In terms of popularity, it is quite clear that Facebook remains the most popular social media application in the United States while Twitter and Snapchat appear to not be as popular. As many of these apps have become popular within the past 5 to 10 years, they have mainly become popular due to the number of people who use the platform. The more people using the platform, the higher the increase in the utility of the platform. However, there will be certain clusters that would not necessarily be affected by the influence of these social media apps. The nuances of how these social media apps may create information cascades illustrate how there may be some clusters of people who do not utilize the app, especially by age demographics.

 

At my local high school, some social media apps prevailed in popularity in comparison to others. These apps prevailed simply because most people want to use the app that their friends are using to avoid the failure of missing out (FOMO) effect. In my graduating class of 29, only 3 people used twitter often. They consistently used Twitter, claiming that the application was better than the others that were in the market. However, most people used Snapchat and Instagram. Close to 90% used Snapchat while 100% had a WhatsApp by senior year. However, in freshmen year, not that many people used Snapchat. Originally, 5 people used Snapchat consistently in freshmen year. This shows that 3/29 was not enough to cause a cascading effect, but 5/29 did cause a cascading effect on Snapchat. What is odd that in freshmen year, about 6 people used Facebook, but only 9 people used Facebook by senior year. This goes against the rules that would cause a cascading effect; 5 people was enough to cause a cascading effect on Snapchat, but 6 people was not enough for a cascading effect. The reason for this could be explained through a “super social influencer”; this social media influence managed to influence almost everyone to download and use Snapchat, illustrating the result of an influencer on a certain cluster.

 

While this is an analysis of a small cluster consisting of 29 people (or nodes), this is vastly different from the data accumulated through nationwide analysis. In the United States, most people use Facebook (527 million) while a significantly less amount of people use Snapchat (87 million). These are extremely inconsistent with 29 cluster case. However, the usage of WhatsApp (400 million) and Twitter (23 million) are consistent with the original case. The reason for this is because most users of Snapchat tend to be teens and young adults, while Facebook attracts older adults.

Sources:

Social Media Use in 2018


Local School Newspaper

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