Was The Era Of ‘Big Data’ Social Media Based on False Hype?

One of the most surprising findings when looking back at Twitter’s evolution from 2012 to 2018 is just how small it turns out social media really is. For years the public narrative around social platforms has been that they were the flag bearers of the “big data” revolution, holding some of the largest datasets in the world that could offer unprecedented views into the heart of human society.

In reality, it seems social media is far smaller and more limited than we ever realized. Using Twitter’s 2012-2015 trajectory, the service was estimated to be not much larger than the online news media it was supposed to replace. Armed with Twitter’s actual size over the last seven years, it turns out those original estimates were far too generous. Twitter’s slow decline and rising retweet rate mean the total amount of unique content per day in Twitter’s firehose is becoming smaller and smaller.

Author: Kalev Leetaru

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