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The UK’s most social media obsessed cities

Social media usage in the United Kingdom has been rising each year, and that popular platforms have managed to maintain their high user numbers.

File photo: Clearview AI Inc has trawled the internet and social media platforms to collect more than 20 billion images of people's faces — © AFP SAUL LOEB
File photo: Clearview AI Inc has trawled the internet and social media platforms to collect more than 20 billion images of people's faces — © AFP SAUL LOEB

Preston is the most social media obsessed city in the UK, according to new research based on search engine data.

The study by Internet firm analysed the number of monthly Google searches over the past year for social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok to see which cities had the highest searches per 1,000 people. 

This analysis revealed that the Lancashire city of Preston was the most social media obsessed city. This is due to more than 215,200 social media searches being made in the city, which when accounting for population means there are 1,517.63 searches per 1,000 people made every month. 99.52 percent of Preston residents have access to superfast broadband, two percentage points higher than the UK average of 97.2 percent. 

Preston is a city on the north bank of the River Ribble in Lancashire, England. As far as places in the UK go, it is unremarkable.

Glasgow, is a far more bustling city, comes in as the second most social media obsessed city. More than 956,300 searches are made for social media in the city every month, which gives a score of 1,512.34 searches per 1,000 people when accounted for population. A 2020 Selectra report showed Glasgow had the fourth-highest download speeds in the UK. 

The top ten most Internet savvy cities are:

#CityPopulationSocial media searches monthlySearches per 1,000 peopleFavourite platform

With 1,453.38 searches per 1,000 people and 93,070 social media searches a month, the cathedral city of Hereford is the third most social media obsessed city. Facebook alone made up nearly 80% of the social media searches, with 74,000 searches per month for the platform.

Bristol comes in fourth place, with around 645,000 social media searches which, when accounting for population, gives the city 1,380.86 social media searches per 1,000 people and a fourth-place position.

Coming in fifth place is Cambridge, with 199,880 monthly searches for social media, which gives the city a score of 1,333.36 searches per 1,000 people when population is accounted for.

As to what this all means, a sizeable number of people these cities  will be operating at the next level of Internet/Web skills compared with the normal population. This extends to downloading files and updating applications as well as being extremely aware of potential viruses.

Across the board, Facebook was found to be the most popular platform in every city out of all the platforms studied.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from VPNOverview tells Digital Joiurnal: “Social media has become a fundamental part of so many people’s lives over the past decade, so it’s natural that some cities would take more of a liking to it than others. It’s interesting to see the contrasting collection of cities in the top ten, indicating that this interest is not concentrated in one part of the UK either.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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