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30 Facts That Will Change the Way You Use Social Media

This just in: Facebook can see you when you're sleeping.

According to a survey by Social Media Today, it's estimated that the average person spends around 2 hours a day browsing social media platforms alone. Boiled down, this means that we're each spending around 40 minutes on YouTube, 35 minutes on Facebook, 25 minutes on Snapchat, 15 minutes on Instagram, and one minute on Twitter every day. (Okay, Twitter is admittedly not much of a time-sink.) Put another way: over the course of a lifetime, expect to spend a total of five years and four months browsing social media.

So yeah. You use social media quite a lot. But more startling than these figures is that overarching fact that you could—and indeed should—be utilizing these daily two hours differently: more effectively, efficiently, and safely, in other words. For instance, if you want to maximize likes, there's a specific time of day to log on. Or, if you want to minimize privacy breaches, there's a secret button you likely haven't hit. Herein, we've rounded up the 30 most astounding, shocking facts that will totally change the way you use social media—forever. And for more ways technology has put you under a spell, check out these 20 Ways Social Media Stresses Us Out.

Facebook sees you when you're sleeping…

Girl Sleeping Next to Phone Social Media

…and knows when you're awake. Web developer Soren Louv-Jansen created a system that literally mapped out his friends sleeping patterns by checking the first and last times they used the Facebook Messenger app. Though this may not be especially useful if you're not a big-time Facebook user, it's still a bit creepy for those of us who are. And for more crazy facts about Facebook, check out these 15 Things You Don't Know about Facebook.

Facebook pays hackers.

hacking movie cliches

Though Facebook may not be great at keeping your data private, as we're all well aware by now, they at least want to keep the site secure and free from threatening hackers. To better arm themselves against these threats, Facebook continues to invite anyone to hack into their site. And if the hacker is successful at pointing out a major issue, they'll be rewarded for their efforts—via a cool $500 in cash. And for more tips to improve your social media strategies, check out these 20 Social Media Mistakes You're Making.

Social media improves romantic relationships.

couple on their phones Social Media
Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock

As it turns out, your social media habits aren't disrupting your relationship—they're actually impacting your romance in a positive way, according to a Neoteric UK survey. An astounding 74 percent of couples say that the Internet and social media have impacted their relationship in a positive way. We're guessing the invention of #WCW helped move this trend along.

Kids accept random WhatsApp requests.

strangers on a park bench

According to cyber safety non-profit Online Sense, 65 percent of children have accepted Whatsapp requests or other messages from people that they don't know personally—or at all. If you have a kid on the app, be mindful.

And some even meet IRL.

t-rex Jokes children

Online Sense also notes (quite chillingly) that 23 percent of children agree to meet someone face to face that they met online.

Social media makes teens sad.

mom helping daughter Moms Should Never Say

According to psychologist Katie Hurley, this past decade witnessed a tremendous spike in major depressive episodes among adolescents and young adults—jumping from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 11.3 percent in 2014—and many are blaming this phenomenon on the emergence of social media. According to a report published by the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK, it was found that while YouTube had the most positive impact, every other social media platform had a decidedly negative one.

If you want retweets, log on during dinner.

Woman Eating a Salad on the Phone Social Media

If you're looking to increase your engagement, multiple studies have suggested that your evening commute may be the best time push content on Twitter. According to these studies, the best time to retweet on Twitter falls somewhere 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on most weeknights. (Additionally, the best day to receive the most Twitter engagement is Wednesday.)

For Facebook likes, wait until the weekend.

Girl Smiling at Phone Social Media

If you're one of the millions of users attempting to push your content daily, it may be a good idea to wait until the weekend to promote the bulk of it, according to a review of social media engagement studies. More specifically, aim to publish content between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., as those tend to be the peak hours for engagement on Saturday and Sunday.

Moms love brands.

Mother and daughter

Similar to moms IRL, moms on Facebook are incredibly supportive—especially when it comes to showing love for their favorite brands and companies. According to a survey published by Burst Media, around 56 percent of social-media-using mothers go out of their way to follow their favorite brands on Facebook.

A large amount of Facebook accounts aren't actually that active.

stop pocket dialing

In 2015, Facebook had 1.59 billion users with only 1.23 billion of them active on at least a monthly basis, according to Venture Beat.

Democrats are more active on Twitter.

Twitter, which Matt Rife often uses. Everyday Energy Killers

Though it is often incredibly easy to tell a person's political affiliations by giving their Twitter page a quick once-over, this startling statistic published in the journal PLoS ONE points out that Democrats are actually likely to follow more accounts than Republicans. Specifically, a Democrat will follow an average of 78 accounts, while their Republican counterparts will only follow, on average, 52 accounts.

Snapchat's users are predominantly female.

teens taking selfie

Female-targeting brands, heads up: according to the chief executive of Snapchat, an incredible 70 percent of its users are female—meaning that you might want to hop on the Snapchat bandwagon before it's too late. And for more on this popular app, learn the 15 Things You Don't Know about Snapchat.

Pinterest users spend like crazy.

Woman Listening to Music While Grocery Shopping Mistakes

When the e-commerce platform Shopify analyzed data from 25,000 online stores, they found that Pinterest users spend two times more money per purchase (or $8) than those who shopped on Facebook or Twitter.

And honestly might be shopaholics.

happy woman at computer

According to Pinterest, 93 percent of their users have shopped online within the last six months. So, if you're looking for a way to make some extra money, it might be a good idea to start posting your own creations on Pinterest.

Baby Boomers are swarming to Twitter.

older person on ipad

According to social media guru Belle Beth Cooper, Twitter users between the ages of 55 and 64 have grown a whopping 79 percent since 2012. So, if you're looking to promote content on Twitter, it may be important to keep these Baby Boomers in mind.

YouTube is becoming more popular than cable.

hobbies for your 40s

Long-gone are the days of dish and satellite—well, at least according to any 18-to-34-year-old, says social media expert Jeff Bullas. Instead of setting up their satellite dish, this incredibly important age group opts for simple YouTube videos to quench their thirst for popular culture.

LinkedIn might be a sleeper hit.

jumpstart your career in 2018

Though LinkedIn may not be the most popular social media platform, it is the most powerful networking tool for professionals. The power of LinkedIn can be summed up in one simple statistic, as discovered by social media guru Belle Beth Cooper: every second of every day, two new members join LinkedIn—and bring new worlds of possibility with them.

Or not…

Businessman on Cell Phone Social Media

Still, even though new members are joining LinkedIn at an impressive rate, users are spending more time participating on Facebook and Twitter, according to Bullas. The bottom line: LinkedIn is great for making important business connections, but not for any form of steady communication. To chat freely and quickly with your mentors or peers, stick to Facebook or Twitter.

Some Facebook users don't actually care about the whole privacy thing.

social media changes after 40

According to a survey by Velocity Digital, approximately 25 percent of Facebook users don't even bother to check their privacy settings on the site. This number is incredibly startling, considering the sheer amount of recent heat Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has been under for the company's multiple data breaches.

Sometimes, the least prolific users are the most active.

systems analyst

It's time to show some kindness to those Twitter users who may not be racking up their follower count—especially since, generally speaking, these are the followers who reportedly make the most Twitter mentions. In fact, a whopping 91 percent of mentions on Twitter are made by users with less than 500 followers.

Twitter has six separate communities.

systems analyst

Not all Twitter accounts communicate in the same way—in fact, there are six distinct and totally separate communities within the platform, says Scott Ayres, co-author of Facebook All-in-One For Dummies. These separate communication categories are as follows: Polarized Crowds, or people who talk about controversial topics like politics; Tight Crowds, or users who are focused on certain topics—like hobbies; Brand Clusters, or the group who generally discusses everything under the sun; Community Clusters, or those of us who tend to only post about current events; Broadcast Networks, or users who post frequently about celebrities; and Support Networks, or companies and services with customer support.

For engagement, stick to words.

Woman Writing at Computer Social Media

While this may be a surprising tidbit, most social media users are more likely to engage with content that is completely original—and written, according to a survey by Social Media Examiner. That's right: Most followers are likely to bypass original visual content.

Twitter was almost called "Friendstalker."

making sure no one is following him Embarrassing Things

Among the many names Twitter founder Noah Glass considered before settling upon its current one, the most alarming—yet profoundly accurate—contender was… Friendstalker.

Companies don't actually listen to you on social media.

angry woman on phone Social Media

One of the amazing benefits of Facebook is that you can almost always rely on your favorite companies and brands to actively maintain their page—informing their customers of upcoming events, new products, etc. And, though this communication is nice, it seems to only be a one-way street for most companies. According to SocialBakers, only 30 percent of companies actually respond to questions and inquiries from customers on Facebook—which is a shocking statistic when you realize that a company's sole purpose for maintaining a Facebook page is to openly interact with their customers. So, the next time you'd like to reach out to a brand or company, it may be best to do so through a phone hotline—sigh.

Pinterest pins are worth money.

Pinterest on Tablet Social Media

Though it may take some practiced patience, every original pin you post on Pinterest is worth an average of 78 cents, according to social media marketing and analytics firm Piqora. The patience part comes into play with the fact that about half of Pinterest sales don't occur until two and a half months after the item was originally pinned—and that's only if your item has been repinned at least 10 times. If your item has had no such luck, then you'll be waiting at least one more month for a sale. However, according to Piqora, once you begin to regularly post original pins, you'll see increased traffic to your site, and, therefore, more Pinterest users buying your products.

Most users aren't patient.

Tired woman on phone Social Media

According to Sprout Social, while the average social media user expects a brand response within 4 hours, most companies don't typically respond until 10 hours after the question or comment was posted—if at all. Our advice: stop watching their clock for a Twitter response—it will eventually come…in ten hours or so.

Facebook is the most addictive platform.

Facebook friend request

Out of every social media platform, Facebook has easily become the most addictive, with 23 percent of its users checking their app five or more times a day, according to Tom Webster and his team. According to a Vice article, this is no accident—as the "like" button has negatively affected users by "hijacking the social reward systems of a user's brain." Since its creation, Facebook has been consistently guilty of messing with our emotions—in just a few clicks of the mouse.

Terrorists use social media as a recruitment tactic.

ISIS caliphate Social Media

According to author David Patrikarakos, the terrorist organization ISIS has garnered such a diverse following through a series of skillful propaganda pushes via social media. In fact, after Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov plowed into eight people with his truck in Manhattan last year, a whopping 90 of these propaganda videos were found on his phone. Since this turn to social media for ISIS recruitment, the United States hasn't been able to successfully wage a war against the social media platforms that sometimes unknowingly display this content. And for more digital wisdom, check out these 20 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About Your Smartphone.

Your privacy settings have a non-ideal default.

Unhappy Man on Phone Social Media

Though there are now multiple ways to protect to protect your personal information, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are guilty of leaving their default setting as the opt-out option—meaning that if you've never checked your privacy settings, it's likely that you and your data have no privacy at all, according to author Dale Smith.

There's a best day for every category on Pinterest.

Pinterest on Phone Social Media

Whether you're looking for brand new items to pin, or you're ready to post a few original ones, it pays off to know which categories soar on each day of the week. For a list of the top subjects by day on Pinterest, head over to Buffer Social. And for more ways to spend your free time without a smartphone, check out these 20 Genius Ways to Kill Time without a Smartphone.

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Ashley Moor
Ashley hails from Dayton, Ohio, and has more than six years of experience in print and digital media. Read more
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