Owing to the wide acceptance of social media these days, you won’t be entirely wrong if you tag the 2010s-decade a ‘Social Media’ Decade.
Smartphones, tablets, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices surged in popularity during the 2010s, allowing easy access to the internet and mass media via mobile apps, social networking, and videotelephony. Growing sophistication and prevalence of IoT devices also spawned new debates over privacy, censorship, and over-dependence.
Since the iOS App Store and Google Play launched in 2008 with what seemed like mostly novelty titles, they’ve grown to include millions of apps that help us communicate, meet new people, listen to music, etc.
Funnily enough, some of these apps were in existence before the start of the decade, but they all became popular and accepted during the 2010s-decade.
As the 2010s-decade winds down, CobraReview has curated a list of impactful and most-used social media apps of the decade in Nigeria. They are, in no particular order:
Instagram, popularly called ‘IG’ by Nigerians, is an American photo and video-sharing social networking service created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010 exclusively on iOS.
The app allows users to upload photos and videos to the platform, these uploads can be edited with various filters, and organized with tags and location information. An account’s posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users can browse other users’ content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can also like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed.
Instagram has since changed the way people think about photos and videos. With one million registered users in two months, 10 million in a year, and 1 billion as of May 2019, the app has become an incredibly effective marketing and business tool over the years, and it continues to grow.
Described by many as ‘the intellectual social platform’, Twitter is a microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as ‘tweets’. Tweets were originally restricted to 140 characters, but on November 7, 2017, this limit was doubled to 280 for all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Registered users can post, like, and retweet tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through its website interface, through Short Message Service (SMS) or its mobile application.
Created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams, the social media platform has since gained worldwide popularity.
Thirteen years after its debut, no one can argue that Twitter has completely changed the way the world communicates. From the Arab Spring where protesters used Twitter to not only coordinate but also voice their message to the world, to Nigerians trending all kinds of hashtags to either support an individual/group, or blatantly stand against government policies.
It is, therefore, safe to say that ‘Twitter’ has changed the face of communication in Nigeria and the world at large. Though Twitter hasn’t proven successful at clamping down on hate speech, it’s still one of the best and most informative social networks we have around.
Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service based in Menlo Park, California and a flagship service of the namesake company Facebook, Inc.
Launched on February 2, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg, alongside fellow Harvard College students and roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, the app has since gotten over 2.6billiion subscribers.
Like Twitter, Facebook’s debut predated the decade, but it has become the premier social media platform in the world. It lets people reconnect with old friends and family members across the world, and users get inundated with memes, cat videos, requests for games, news (both real and fake). After the short boom of ‘Myspace’, Facebook popularized social media in the mainstream. However, amid its user privacy scandals and an influx of fake news, the platform has since fallen under harsh scrutiny post-2016 election in the United States.
Launched in January 2009, WhatsApp Messenger is a freeware, cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) service, now owned by Facebook, Inc. The app allows users to send text messages and voice messages, and more recently; make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media.
WhatsApp’s client application runs on mobile devices but is also accessible from desktop computers, as long as the user’s mobile device remains connected to the internet while they use the desktop app. The service requires users to provide a standard cellular mobile number in order to register with the service.
The app was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for approximately US$ 19.3 billion. By 2015, WhatsApp became the world’s most popular messaging application and has over 1.5 billion users worldwide as of February 2018.
Right now, WhatsApp is the primary means of communication in multiple countries and locations, including Nigeria, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, India, Pakistan and large parts of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Spain, and France.
2go is a free mobile social networking application developed in 2007 by a couple of University of Witwatersrand students as a communication tool. The app started as a mobile website and was used to upload and share the students’ timetables and lectures with each other. But in 2008, 2go moved away from the students-only model by targeting developing markets in Africa.
Originally intended as a feature phone exclusive application, versions for Android, BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10 powered smartphones were also released.
The app offers one-on-one and group chat services in addition to paid-for chat room facilities which makes use of the platform’s ‘GoCredits currency, which is also spent on games and other content.
With over 50 million registered users across Africa, and 13 million active users based within Nigeria, 2go was the social media platform to beat until WhatsApp took over in 2012.