The ever-changing face of social media over the last 20 years has been one of the defining elements of our culture. It is more and more common for content to be delivered via an app or a website, especially with the proliferation of affordable smartphones.  As cameras become more advanced, the ability to showcase high quality footage swiftly continues to grow; bonus points if you can provide some snappy editing software in your app. Finally, in the last half decade, businesses across the globe have realized the incredible marketing power of social media. If that’s the recent past, what does the present hold?  2021 presents some intriguing changes to the shifting landscape but will also firmly re-establish some giants in the social media world.

Facebook remains a daunting giant in the field, and that doesn’t look like it will be changing in 2021. Its userbase is over 2 billion active users, and 75% of them use Facebook daily. Scarier still for competitors is that Facebook has a pretty evenly spread-out user demographic in terms of ages. Facebook and its properties will most likely continue to be social media champion. It doesn’t hurt to have Instagram in your back pocket, where over 70% of teens have the app and 63% of people 30 and under have an account.

TikTok is in a fascinating space right now, and it does not look like it is going anywhere anytime soon. Taking a page from Vine and Twitter, TikTok has a hard cap on how long a video can be, 60 seconds long broken into 15 second segments. Further TikTok has a musical component that has created chart toppers for the last year and has video f/x and editing software that allows users to get incredibly creative with their productions. Owned by Bytedance, TikTok is not without controversy right now. The concerns over how user’s data is protected are legitimate, and rumors abound on whether or not Bytedance shares user information with the Chinese government. Despite all the negative publicity, TikTok seems to be forging forward and has become the first massive new face in social media since the early 2010’s.

Finally, another monster continues to tower over the social media market: YouTube. While it has met some obstacles like YouTube Premium’s failure to generate interest, those issues pale in comparison to the success YouTube has had and will continue to have.  At this point YouTube has the gravitational pull of a black hole and is the second most utilized search engine after Google. It also has a user base of about 1.9 billion people just barely second to Facebook in terms of active members. It may seem obvious, but YouTube will continue to be extremely popular especially as the pandemic lingers on. With less and less traditional media being produced, more and more people are turning to alternative media for distraction and enjoyment.