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A Teenager’s View on Social Media


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Source: https://medium.com/backchannel/a-teenage...

If I could break down a party for you in social media terms, here’s how it would pan out:

  • You post yourself getting ready for the party, going to the party, having fun at the party, leaving at the end of the party, and waking up the morning after the party on Snapchat.
  • On Facebook you post the cute, posed pictures you took with your friends at the party with a few candids (definitely no alcohol in these photos).
  • On Instagram you pick the cutest one of the bunch to post to your network.

Snapchat is where we can really be ourselves while being attached to our social identity. Without the constant social pressure of a follower count or Facebook friends, I am not constantly having these random people shoved in front of me. Instead, Snapchat is a somewhat intimate network of friends who I don't care if they see me at a party having fun.

...

Snapchat has a lot less social pressure attached to it compared to every other popular social media network out there. This is what makes it so addicting and liberating. 

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Snapchat has less perceived social pressure because there's no way to like and no way to comment. 

And no friend or follower counts. It's JUST sharing.

They don't care that Snapchat does not delete photos:

Snapchat is where we can really be ourselves while being attached to our social identity. Without the constant social pressure of a follower count or Facebook friends, I am not constantly having these random people shoved in front of me. Instead, Snapchat is a somewhat intimate network of friends who I don't care if they see me at a party having fun.

On no other social network (besides Twitter possibly) is it acceptable post an “I’m soooo bored” photo besides Snapchat. There aren't likes you have to worry about 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. This is what makes it so addicting and liberating. If I don’t get any likes on my Instagram photo or Facebook post within 15 minutes you can sure bet I'll delete it. Snapchat isn't like that at all and really focuses on creating the Story of a day in your life, not some filtered/altered/handpicked highlight. It’s the real you.

Another quick aside about Snapchat—I only know a handful of people (myself included) that believe Snapchat does delete your photos. Everyone else I know believes that Snapchat has some secret database somewhere with all of your photos on it. While I will save that debate for another day, it is safe to say that when photos are “leaked” or when there’s controversy about security on the app, we honestly do not really care. We aren't sending pictures of our Social Security Cards here, we're sending selfies and photos with us having 5 chins.

"It's the real you."

I think many people use Facebook this way, not just teenagers:

In short, many have nailed this on the head. It’s dead to us. Facebook is something we all got in middle school because it was cool but now is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can't really leave. It’s weird and can even be annoying to have Facebook at times. That being said, if you don't have Facebook, that’s even more weird and annoying. Weird because of the social pressure behind the question, “Everyone has Facebook, why don't you?” and annoying because you'll have to answer that to just about everyone in classes you meet who makes an attempt to friend you or find you on there.

Facebook is often used by us mainly for its group functionality. I know plenty of classmates who only go on Facebook to check the groups they are part of and then quickly log off. In this part Facebook shines—groups do not have the same complicated algorithms behind them that the Newsfeed does. It is very easy to just see the new information posted on the group without having to sift through tons of posts and advertising you don't really care about.

Messaging on Facebook is also extremely popular among our age group, mainly because they provide the means to talk to those people who you weren't really comfortable with asking for their number but comfortable enough to send them a friend request.

Facebook is often the jumping-off point for many people to try to find you online, simply because everyone around us has it. If I met you one time at some party, I’m not going to try to check Twitter or Instagram to find out who you are. Instead, many opt for the ease of Facebook and the powerful search functionality that gives you results of people who you actually have a chance of knowing (unlike Instagram, whose search functionality, although it improved slightly in the last update, leaves much to be desired).

Avoid the feeds and you avoid the random posts and advertising. Clever. 

Many people are confused about Twitter, not just teenagers.

To be honest, a lot of us simply do not understand the point of Twitter. There is always a core group at every school that uses it very religiously to tweet and another group that uses it to simply watch or retweet, but besides that many don't use it. It also isn't extremely easy to find friends on the site and many just use it to complain about school in a setting where their parents/family members (not necessarily employers) are likely not to see it.

Twitter is a place to follow/be followed by a bunch of random strangers, yet still have your identity be attached to it (this distinction will be important later on). Your tweets are also easily searchable on Twitter which is good but not good if you want to be yourself and not have it follow you around when you're trying to land a job. Thus, to others Twitter is used like Facebook—you post with the assumption that your employer will see it one day.

There are then three main groups of Twitter users: the ones who use it to complain/express themselves, the ones who tweet with the assumption that their prospective employer will eventually see whatever they are saying, and the ones who simply look at other Tweets and do the occasional RT.

At least on Tumblr no one knows who you are so you're free to post whatever.

I never attached to Tumblr, just used it as a repository for spaceholding Instagram photos. Maybe because I'm technically old. 

What utility does it have as a repository?

Why Yik Yak is popular and Secret isn't:

Yik Yak is a rather new contender, however, a ton of friends in college have the application. It has gotten to be so addicting because it focuses solely on the content of your posts—there are no followers, no profiles, nothing. Whatever is funny/relevant is at the top and everything else is at the bottom, whether Kanye West is the one who is writing it or some random kid who never talks in class.

There’s an advertisement I see often on Twitter for Yik Yak that says something along the lines of “Everyone’s on it before class starts.” I can 100% reaffirm that this is true. And everyone’s on it during class, talking about the class they are in. And everyone’s on it after class to find out what else is going on around campus.

While it hasn't reached the popularity of the other networks, Yik Yak is a powerful contender that people actually use. Often I see people post about the fight for anonymity with other applications such as Secret. I can tell you that I do not know a single person in my network who uses that application. People reference Yaks all the time with each other or send screenshots, I have yet to ever hear of a hot post on Secret that everyone’s talking about.

What Medium does right:

What Medium does right is the “recommend” function. This is unseen on Wordpress (besides the typical website sharing buttons) and is really what makes Medium a community, not just a bunch of individual sites. Having a simple “Follow” system also makes it so that you come back to Medium even if you aren’t looking to write a blog. Medium also has an emphasis on commenting right next to the text (as opposed to a lengthy comment section at the bottom).

Medium’s only challenge is becoming known to the teenage audience. The layout of the site as well as the content is all there, what is needed is just the recognition of our age group. I feel that over time as more teenagers begin to discover Medium, many of my peers will begin blogging here.

Wattpad is really hooking my students. It's a great place to be--everyone has an equal voice. 

Please don't make me read that. 

I'll give you the gist. 99% of Wattpad is dirty fanfic "romance" stories. 

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