High schoolers: The Decline of Facebook and Rise of…Everything Else

snapchat logoAt this point, it is old news that young people are nearly over the whole Facebook thing. Instead, they are turning to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat to get their social media fix. It would be easy to write this off as just another changing of the tide (remember when we all abandoned our beloved blinged-out MySpace profiles?), but the high schoolers I know have some well-thought out reasons for preferring other social media outlets.

Why Teens Prefer Other Platforms

  1. Their Parents Aren’t On Them. Oh snap. So the kids are definitely onto the inherent weirdness that comes along with parents “friending” their children. NBCNews.com reports that a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicates that teens have a “waning enthusiasm” for Facebook due in large part to “increasing adult presence.” As Danah Boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research told NBC, “you post something on Facebook and mom flips out.” Snapchat and Instagram are becoming the best place to post photos that you don’t want Mom to see (because Mom will go ballistic).
  2. It’s not permanent. I asked my students about this. Specifically, I asked them why they would ever need a service that automatically deletes photos for anything other than something that would give their poor mothers aneurysms. The answer? Stupid stuff, apparently. Silly faces, ill-advised makeup applications, ugly outfits. NBCNews concurs that the bulk of Snapchats are not sexual in nature (see Mom? You can relax now.), instead they are just silly things that teens do not want permanently floating around on Facebook.
  3. It’s Faster. I actually do not know if this is true, but all my high schoolers swear that Snapchat sends pictures faster than text messages do. I suppose I could test this theory, but I don’t teach science.
  4. They’re More Creative. Again, this is entirely unverified, but everyone has told me that Instagram and Twitter are cooler because, “they’re like, more creative and stuff.” I can understand that there is something appealing about turning a quick picture of your breakfast into an over-filtered work of hipster art or crafting a 140 character haiku about how much you hate AP Econ. Keep on creating, high schoolers.
  5. Again, Their Parents Aren’t On Them. This cannot be understated. Teenagers do not, for the most part, want to socially network with their parents, teachers, pastors and grandmothers. They have the foresight to know that any stupid thing they say on Facebook will more than likely result in “a little chat” with the adult figures in their lives and that really curbs their enthusiasm for the site. Can you blame them?

So there you have it: five reasons why teenagers are turning their backs on Facebook.  When their parents finally join Snapchat, they’ll abandon that too.

What do you think about the ‘decline’ of Facebook? Will Facebook make any changes to keep their Gen Y demographic?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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