The Science of Social Media

Sulfur, Oxygen, Carbon, Iodine and Aluminium - what would they create? SO₂CI₃Al 🙄 (not a recommended, or even viable, chemical formula by the way).

In this week's #SchoolBytes, we are sending out something a little special. With a team of lab-cloaked researchers, we have been splicing the atoms of social media. 🔬🤔

What did we discover through our study? Many, many elements that make up the very fabric of the Social Media Universe! In a truly scientific manner, we've begun to map out these elements.

For your viewing pleasure, we give you The Periodic Table of Social Media.

Click to enlarge

The evolution of social media and apps

The first recognised social media networking site was, which launched 20 years ago in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users.

In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, and started the social media sensation that we see today.

However, the true social media revolution took place when the first iPhone was released in 2008. To coincide with the iPhone's release, the App Store was launched - a library that begun with just 500 apps and now has 2.2 million! 

The introduction of apps has dramatically influenced the behaviour of people the world over. In particular, apps have driven a huge boost in social media usage and mobile usage:

  • the number of mobile users surpassed desktop users in 2014
  • people aged 18 - 24 years use more mobile apps than any other age group
  • the time spent on mobile apps is:
    • 43% on games
    • 26% on social networking
    • 10% on entertainment
    • 10% on utilities
    • 2% on news and productivity
    • 1% on health fitness and lifestyle
    • 5% on others

Breaking down the social media elements

Each colour represents a specific area of social media. Take a look at the full list below. Who knows, perhaps you will StumbleUpon the next big Xing?






Virtual Reality (VR )

Augmented Reality (AR)


Have you observed any elements not included in our Periodic Table? Are we on the cusp of creating new ones, or even discovering new social media elements in nature? Well, perhaps not the latter but social media will continue to evolve and this table will expand.

Which ones would you have added in? Please comment below and see if we can discover all the secrets in the [social media] Universe.