When reading technology articles I’ve noticed plenty of authors attempt to describe the teenage audience, especially in regard to social media. However, I have yet to see a teenager contribute their voice to this discussion.
I am 16 year old student attending Edgbaston High School in Birmingham and I am extremely interested in social media’s role in our society, as well as how it evolves. I want to give a personal and true account on how I feel towards social media; therefore I think the best way to approach this would be to break it down by social media networks.
One thing to note before I start, the below points I make are based on my own personal feeling about the social side of social media. For businesses, many of these points would not apply and social media is incredibly useful.
Facebook has now become somewhat dead to the teenage population. Facebook is something we all got in primary school because it was cool, but now it is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave. That being said, if you don’t have Facebook you can find yourself in a more frustrating position. Because of the social pressure behind the question, ”everyone has Facebook, why don’t you?” and you’ll have to explain yourself to everyone who makes an attempt to ‘friend’ you or find you on there. Messaging on Facebook is also extremely popular among our age group, mainly because Facebook Messenger allows you to talk to those people who you weren’t comfortable enough to ask for their number, but comfortable enough to send them a friend request. Facebook is where everyone starts, and the social bug grows from there, which is why Facebook is still the largest of all the social platforms.
Instagram is by far the most used social media outlet for my age group, which I think is mainly to do with the fact that it’s far easier to go about. It hasn’t been flooded by the older generation – 60.4% of all users are aged between 18 and 24, making the application a much ‘cooler’ one. It’s easy to use and allows you to be creative with your photography skills – the new focus of online content.
Snapchat is quickly becoming the most used social media network in regard to my friendship group, especially with the ‘My Story’ function. Snapchat is very unusual in that you don’t have your own profile – you pick people to send images to, or can upload images for 24hrs that only those who are connected to you can see. A similar function is also available on Instagram. The removal of the profile element means you don’t have to worry about ‘likes’ or comments, it’s all taken away. Snapchat has a lot less social pressure attached to it compared to every other popular social media network out there – though people have to remember that other users can screenshot images. Moreover, the lack of comments is what makes it so addictive and liberating. I would say that Snapchat is my go-to social media tool because of how easily I can chat with friends and catch up on the headlines. Snapchat has a wider range of functions in comparisons to apps like Instagram or Twitter.