Facebook has long been the dominant social media force on the Internet, but is the way that people, and in particular teenagers, use Facebook changing? With new social media platforms popping up all the time, the way that social media is being used is becoming more and more focused. Several eight-graders from across the United States provided insight into how they used different social media platforms with their friends.
With approximately 1 billion daily active users, Facebook is one of the most recognized social media platforms. These days, it seems that almost everyone is on Facebook – classmates, teachers, your boss, your parents, and even your grandparents.
In that statement lies the problem that most teenagers find with Facebook, it is far too accessible. It’s not just your family that’s on Facebook, but your friends family is there, your next door neighbours are on there and the minute you make a post, everyone knows what you are doing. This has led to fewer and fewer teenagers using the popular social media site.
Snapchat allows users to send pictures to specific users for only a matter of seconds before the pictures are gone forever. Alternately, a Snapchat user can post a picture to their story and allow all of their followers to see what they are up to. One teen reports that they use Snapchat to share moments and pictures with their friends, but not their family members.
Overall teens seem to view the platform as positive, but understand that there can be consequences if the app is misused. Though the pictures disappear after a few seconds, a simple screen cap can capture a moment and share it around in a matter of minutes.
Kik seems like yet another texting substitute app, but many teens see it as more than that. Kik is a way to easily connect with groups of people through it’s group chat options. The app also offers teens a way to connect with people without having to give out their phone numbers.
Ask.fm is an anonymous question and answer platform. In the group surveyed, Ask.fm seemed to be one of the least popular of the social media platforms. It has the opposite problem that Facebook does. Anonymity opens the door for hurtful and negative comments, which some users may be particularly vulnerable to.
Finally there is Twitter, which gives users 140 characters to express their thoughts and feelings. Many teens see this character limit as just enough to let people know who you are and what you’re thinking. Features such as retweeting allow users to share articles and posts that further relay their thoughts and opinions.
While Facebook may no longer be the most popular social media choice among teens, it is clear that other social media platforms are certainly picking up the slack and allow teens to express themselves in a whole new way.