Who's Using Social Media

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Monday, October 7, 2019

Who's Using Social Media

The World Economic Forum has released a fresh batch of stats on who is using social media the most. No real surprises in their overall findings (the younger the generation, the more it’s being used), but there were some important updates.

Currently more than 4.4 billion people have access to the internet. The current world population is 7.7 billion. 

Generation Z, as well as Millennials, are spending increasingly less time on social media. The average time per day for all North Americans is a little more than two hours.

Using multiple platforms, or “multi-networking”, is still on the rise, but could be plateauing.

In terms of choices in social media itself, Generation Z prefers YouTube and Instagram, and Millennials are still tied to Facebook. Interestingly, Baby Boomers are showing the highest growth in Instagram and WhatsApp usage.

And why do we say we use social media? This was interesting. The number who say it is because a lot of their friends are on social media declined (-16%); to stay in touch with their friends also declined (-9%). On the rise in terms of reasons for using social media: to network for work (+9%), to follow celebrities/celebrity news (+27%), and to research/find products to buy (+30%).

That last bit of information should stand out to church leaders. People are obviously going online to explore and research, but increasingly through social media. The study found 64% of Generation Z and 62% of Millennials use social channels, or state that social channels are influential, in terms of product research.

In the past, church leaders might have prided themselves on staying abreast of hot TV shows on the networks or blockbuster movies in the Cineplex. Today, the informed church leader is more about the online world and, specifically, social media.

It’s a digital world, which means it’s through a digital world that the church will reach the world.

James Emery White


Ashley Viens, “This Graph Tells Us Who’s Using Social Media the Most,” World Economic Forum, October 2, 2019, read online.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Who's Using Social Media