How teens use #SocialMedia (written by actual teenagers) [PART 2]
Hi there, and welcome back to this article. Last week we looked at Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
The list doesn't end there! So, let's continue on from where we left it...
Pinterest - created 2010
Pinterest is another type of photo sharing website, where memes and funny photos related to a specific topic you are searching can be compiled into albums for your viewing pleasure. It has 10.3 million UK users, and 100 million active users globally. It is a fairly private way to look at images relating to your areas of interests, create albums full of these pictures and tend to provide a place to store visual ideas for upcoming events such as weddings and parties.
How We Use It
We used to use it to look up what is essentially extra content for films, television and literature. The hand drawings of characters or moments from the entertainment branch of choice (commonly referred to as fan art) allows you to see scenes from other perspectives, or branch out and think about what may have occurred afterwards which the writers did not include in the final cut.
As far as we know, not many of our friends use it, or if they do, it is not discussed with the same enthusiasm and frequency of more popular social channels, such as Facebook or Instagram. We have only ever talked about Pinterest with two people, a girl our age who was planning a themed party and showed us her album on the theme, and our 21 year old friend who is planning her wedding. Being able to save photos to create a visual aesthetic is very helpful in these scenarios, but perhaps does not relate to everyday use.
That being said, it is one of the more peaceful forms of social media. You cannot explicitly express opinions, insult other people, or generally cause drama.
The feeling of using Pinterest is that of calm, and a group of people seeing each other's visual interests, without having a judgement to hand out. From that angle, it is preferable when you want to indulge in the casual viewing of your favourite things, without having to present a perfect facade or put up with other people’s opinions of you. Because of this non-confrontational environment, it does not apply to anyone who is just on social media to observe the ‘beef’ that goes down between your friends.
Possibly the lack of viable gossip that can come from Pinterest makes it less appealing to teenagers because, for all our efforts to appear to the older generations as people who are clued in to current events and more than just children with attitude, we do all love a good bit of gossip and tension.
Snapchat - created 2011
Teens love snapchat. We are yet to meet a teenager who does not like Snapchat. The fun filters, fact that it only lasts 10 seconds (unless someone does the dreaded screenshot) and the ability to have a ‘Snapchat Story’ all appeals to teens immensely, and unsurprisingly 10 million people use it in the UK and 600 million worldwide.
Many adults have a preconceived idea of how teens use Snapchat, which is that its original purpose is not quite as innocent as the much-loved Snapchat dog filter.
The way in which teens use Snapchat is completely different than some adults believe, as most teenagers use it to send a 1-10 second snapshot of their day to their friends, whether that be an ugly selfie featuring your 3 chins or a 10 second video of your friend dancing like there is no tomorrow.
The fairly new addition to Snapchat of filters is a game changer. Being able to turn yourself into a chubby bear or enlarge your nose to half the size of your face is hilarious and makes a plain picture or video significantly more interesting and amusing for both the person sending the Snapchat and the person receiving it and this is why we love it.
Snapchat Stories are a function which allows you to add snaps to your story and they will remain there for 24 hours and then will disappear. This is great because you may want to share a funny video on social media but you do not want it to stay there forever, so Snapchat allows you to share it with your friends for 24 hours so they all see it but then it disappears. This allows you to update the people close to you on what exciting or not so exciting things you are doing in your life, almost instantly.
Snapchat also forces you to add your friends in order to be able to send them snapchats or view their story, so teens like this because it means it’s safer to use.
LinkedIn - created 2002
LinkedIn is a platform upon which you can network professionally, and for this reason, out of the 10 million UK users and 414 million global users, we are not one of them.
It is a site where you can connect with people you have worked with, gone to school with or know professionally. Strangers cannot connect with each other and for this reason it seems like a private way to network. It also is an easy way to find potential employees. It appears that LinkedIn is a recruiter's first port of call when looking for potential hires.
Many people have suggested for us to get a LinkedIn profile, the sooner the better, but we have always been a bit wary, as it seems like such a definitive step towards Our Future. We’re sure we will get a profile, and soon, but not right now.
From what we know, none of our friends use it, and the youngest person we know on it is a 20 year old who tried to make us get profiles so that he had another connection. So while it is a professional website used to make business connections, perhaps there is still an aspect of trying to gain popularity, much like Facebook.
Tumblr - created 2007
Tumblr is a channel through which you can express your opinions in an almost completely anonymous way, share photos and videos, and has the connotation to be linked to fandoms and obsessions. It is used by 9 million people in the UK, has 550 million monthly global users, and 69% of users are millenials.
While it is one of the older Social Channels, being just over 9 years old, it is only used by 14% of teenagers, and is a fairly small community. It has a lot of anonymity as your blog does not have to be tied to you in any way, and unless you explicitly put your name, no one knows who you are and cannot identify you other than by your blog name.
It is a more private experience, as not many people will share their Tumblr blog name with their friends.
People use it to spread awareness about things they think are important, for example over the last week (July 2016) there have been many postings about Brexit and police brutality in the USA.
Other people use it to, in a similar fashion to Pinterest, find extra content and fan art about the entertainment sources they particularly enjoy. People often go on Tumblr for mindless entertainment.
A lot of the blog posts are merely reblogs of what other people have said that has particularly struck you and that you want on your blog. It is fairly interactive as well, with the ability to comment on other people’s posts when you reblog. These sorts of interactions are often screenshotted and posted on Facebook or Instagram due to their entertainment value.
Another way people interact with each other is through the ability to send Asks to particular admins, which you like or have a question for. The ability to send them anonymously makes people bold enough to actually ask what they want rather than trying to present themselves in any set way.
It is a fairly private and secure method to express your opinion and find entertainment since it cannot be linked back to you. We really enjoy using Tumblr because it is an easy way to remind ourselves of our favourite moments from either media or literature that we have enjoyed, and the humour that comes out from random reblogs leads to hours of endless fun.
We only know of two friends who have Tumblr, and every time one of them pops up on our Newsfeed, we die a little in embarrassment. It really is a safe place where people can feel free to say what they want and post what they feel like posting with no judgement because out of the 9 million users in the UK, someone will feel the same way as you and reblog your post in camaraderie.
Vine - created 2013
Vine is an app used to record and share 6 second videos and is highly popular among teens, as 71% of vine users are millennials, whilst only 28% of people on Vine are adults between 18-24.
Vine appeals to teens because we live in a world where there is never enough time and we expect things to be instant, so being able to watch a video which lasts less than 6 seconds is perfect for us.
We also tune out very easily and incredibly quickly but in a Vine, there is not enough time for you to be able to start daydreaming about what’s for lunch later, so you pay more attention and do not get bored. For this reason, although we do not use Vine as an app, we often watch Vines, which pop up on our Facebook feeds.
Vine is also a great place for people to share their short videos with a large platform for anyone to see, which is great for musicians, for example, who can post a vine of themselves singing and hopefully people will like it and potentially share it, so their profile is boosted and they may gain support.
Vine has produced people called ‘Viners’ who have created lots of popular Vines, which has actually resulted in them becoming famous, similar to YouTubers.
Flickr - created 2004
We have never, in our lives, used Flickr. As far as we know, none of our friends have used it either.
Despite our lack of knowledge about it, it has 112 million global users, and 1 million photos are shared per day. Flickr’s description of itself is “the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favourite photos and videos to the world”.
It seems like a relatively easy and painless method of sharing your photos and videos. It appears as if a variety of organisations use it, including libraries, museums, universities and businesses. The easy availability of the photos once put on Flickr makes it a popular option to enhance a company’s publicity.
Periscope - created 2015
Periscope is Twitter’s live-streaming video app and although it was only created just over a year ago, it has 10 million users worldwide. Despite this, we are yet to use Periscope or to hear of any of our friends using it.
Periscope seems to be an easy way for people to tweet out a link to their live stream, with it either being public or private, and then people can view it.
We can see how this may appeal to people as it resembles watching live television and as Periscope is still fairly new compared to the other dinosaurs of social media, such as Facebook, which have been around a lot longer, maybe Periscope is the next big thing.
Overall, social media is used by the majority of teens and for the ones who use it, it plays a fairly key part of their day-to-day lives. Yet every teen will use social media slightly differently.
However, speaking from our perspective, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and YouTube are the forms of social media we use the most, as we use these channels to communicate, share and cure boredom. We feel the stereotype that all teenagers are vain and obsessed with how other people perceive them, whilst holding a grain of truth, is exaggerated.
For example, whilst we will post the occasional edited selfie on Instagram and we’re happy when it receives many likes, we don’t spend hours a week trying to find the perfect angle, the perfect lighting and the perfect pout. Most teenagers use social media in some way or another and gradually more and more adults are joining the social stratosphere.
With the great diversity of people using social media in their own, individual ways, this is what makes social media interesting, diverse and constantly changing.
Thank you for reading this article. It offers such an interesting and candid view from a huge portion of social media users. We hope you are able to take something away from this, and would love to hear your thoughts and comments below. 😃