There are some 645,750,000 active registered Twitter users, Tweeting an average of 58 million messages per day. It takes only five days for a billion new Tweets to be generated, which is no real surprise given that there are 9,100 Tweets per second.
In addition, there are an average of 1.3 billion monthly users of Facebook, 680,000,000 of them, accessing their accounts via their mobiles. 48% of its active users log on at least daily, spending an average of 18 minutes per visit.
Depending on your platform of choice, you have access from around 9-18% of the world’s total population and, given that the latest data shows around 39% of the global population has access to the internet, then of those ‘connected’ people, we have access to almost 50% of them.
Here’s an interesting point.
It only takes around 1,500 Tweets of the same hashtag to trend globally.
Keep that in mind.
2014 will stand out for me for many positive reasons, but as I look back over the year, there have also been a number of shocking and appalling incidents. From MH370 to MH17, the continuing Gaza-Israel conflict, Ebola and only yesterday, the siege which took place in Sydney.
And from those incidents, it became clear that the way to get up to date information, is via social media. With 9,100 Tweets per second, it doesn’t take long to get the latest news straight to your phone, sometimes from people closely affected, far quicker than even real-time, 24 hour news networks.
It doesn’t take long for an incident-related hashtag to appear and your newsfeed be filled with real time updates.
As the trend spreads, so the number of posts showing the same information with negligible variance proliferates. Getting new information, different information is extremely difficult; getting something unique amongst the myriad of noise is almost impossible.
So despite the vast connectedness that we benefit from, what we actually have access to are trends – general directions, movements, consensus, drift or fashion. And, given the relatively low number of Tweets carrying a specific hashtag required to gain trending status, it doesn’t take a huge effort to influence opinion.
But what we don’t have access to is something new, different, extraordinary, irregular, or rare.
Following trends is great if what you want is a general consensuses and an understanding of what the majority know. However, it gives you nothing new, and no unique insights.
And that’s essential because it’s in knowing something different which is where the opportunity lies.
All leaders in their field focus on something new, something different – which will set them apart from the rest.
So whilst we all consume news, views, perceptions and stories given from mainstream outlets almost at random, and digest the latest trending news on Facebook and Twitter, let’s also look for something new, unique and different which maybe, just maybe, holds a glimmer of hope or opportunity.
Before the end of the year, take a moment and consider: what might you possibly do in 2015 that is new, different or unique?