The use of hashtags simplifies how users find each other and communicate, or to customize their feed. The real-time nature of platforms such as Twitter and Instagram also paves the way for new types of interactive experiences. As of the first quarter of 2018, Twitter streamed 1,300 live broadcasts on its platform. During a survey conducted in the same year, 49 percent of respondents stated that they always or frequently read or posted comments about TV content on YouTube. In another survey, 43 percent of Millennials stated that they always or frequently tweeted about or read tweets about a TV program. In 2018, ABC's The Bachelor was the most popular show on social media with an average of 611,000 combined Twitter and Facebook interactions per episode.
The fast, interactive nature of social media also allows sports fans to be more engaged, while making it possible for athletes to interact with their fans. In a 2018 survey, 51 percent of FIFA World Cup fans stated that they used social media when second screening. The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in February 2018 generated 103 million tweets and 33.6 billion impressions on Twitter, and it is expected that the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will have similar, if not higher, levels of online engagement from sporting fans around the world. Beyond watching sports events, fans also get news, insights, and comments from social media. Fans can watch a Facebook Live broadcast with their favorite athletes or stay updated on what they are posting on Instagram. As of 2019, Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was the most-followed athlete on Instagram with over 172 million followers.
Candidates running for public office and members of political parties have also adapted to the changing media landscape, using social media channels to communicate with voters and keep the political conversation going. Political activists have also been using social media to encourage action on critical issues. Social media presents new opportunities for engagement not only between politicians and voters, but also among voters themselves. During a June 2018 survey, 14 percent of respondents stated that they had changed their view on a political or social issue due to something they had seen on social networks in the past year. As of September 2019, former U.S. President Barack Obama's account was followed by over 108 million people, making him the most-followed person on Twitter.