39 billion active monthly users-about one for every five people in the world and a little less than half of all people with Internet access. In 2009, Facebook introduced the "like" button, which quickly became a way for people to celebrate an engagement or the birth of a baby, but also for brands to get people to endorse their products.
Companies loved social media for the ostensible humanity it lent them; and sales leads that came through social media, studies showed, had a much higher chance of converting into actual purchases. Google and Bing's algorithms take social media into account, so large followings could also improve a company's position in search-engine rankings, where appearing even one slot higher can mean significant additional revenue.
Researchers have also found that having lots of followers attracts even more followers, continually amplifying a company's or individual's reach. And while the impact of traditional advertising is difficult to quantify, social media counters are much more transparent. Richard Braggs on a pile of SIM cards. Celebrities-and more minor personalities, like bloggers trying to get endorsement deals-have increasingly found their value measured in Facebook fans and Twitter followers, the payments they receive proportionate to their social media clout.
Khlo Kardashian reportedly earns around 13,000 every time she tweets things like, "Want to know how Old Navy makes your butt look scary good?" to her 13.
6 million followers. Politicians desire large followings for obvious reasons.