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Changing the way we communicate

| Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012

WASHINGTON

With more than 50 percent of the world's population under age 30, humanity is getting younger and less experienced. E-mail is already passe. Some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts. The social gamers have taken center stage.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world (after China and India).

Almost all marketers use social media for business. Eighty percent of companies use Facebook for recruiting. Kindergarten children learn on iPads, not chalkboards.

YouTube is the world's second-largest search engine. Twenty-four hours of video are uploaded every minute, with several million views per day. More than half of them are by people under 20 in the United States.

It is the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution. To reach 50 million users, it took radio 38 years, TV, 13 years, and the Internet, four years.

The Internet has more than 2 billion users worldwide -- out of a world population of 7 billion people. There are also some 4 billion people with cell phones.

The top 5 social media tools of 2011, as described online:

• No. 5: MyNewsDesk.com -- a "news exchange" startup from Stockholm, Sweden, that advertises itself as "already one of the most talked about social media tools thanks to its robust analytics system and easy-to-use interface."

• No. 4: Wanderfly.com -- "a personalized recommendations engine that helps users discover new and exciting experiences based on budgets and interests."

• No. 3. YouTube.com/create -- "YouTube has been ramping up its creative tools, and the animation tools at YouTube.com/create are but one example."

• No. 2: Appmakr.com -- "helps you make free apps for the iPhone. Seriously cool."

• No.1. BufferApp.com -- self-described as "the most useful tool of 2011," it schedules content found online and adds to your Twitter or Facebook stream.

Facebook is the global 900-pound gorilla of social media networks. It reaches 55 percent of the world's global audience, accounting for roughly 75 percent of time spent on social networking sites. YouTube is holding its No. 2 position -- as social media and the second largest search engine.

Twitter is where one most turns to for news as it happens. The most shared events of the past year were the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2 (3,400 tweets per second) and the U.S. East Coast earthquake on Aug. 23.

In a world of more than a half a million iPhone apps and more than 250,000 Android apps, it's hard to figure out the most useful.

Expert Jason Hiner concedes that mobile apps have become an embarrassment of riches for both categories. His picks are all "third-party apps that can help users be more productive, streamline regular activities, reduce the number of gadgets in one's life and take advantage of the top benefits that mobile computing has to offer."

Hiner is editor-in-chief of TechRepublic, where he analyzes the hottest trends in business and technology and looks at how they are transforming the ways people work in the 21st century. He takes pride in "filtering out all the noise and finding the most important innovations and explaining why they matter."

Want more• Try jasonhiner.com .

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor-at-large of The Washington Times and United Press International. L. Brent Bozell III is off today.

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