Co-Authors: Mac Thomas and Garrett Vollino (with a little help from Lauren Llewellyn, AE, and Rosalie Morton, SAE at PadillaCRT Richmond)
PadillaCRT recently welcomed soon-to-be high school graduates Mac and Garrett as externs in our Richmond office. One day, a casual conversation spurred a larger discussion about the demise of Facebook usage among today’s high school and college students. While it’s no secret that this trend is occurring in social media, we were curious to get the perspective of two true 18-year-olds in the thick of it. Here’s what they had to say about Facebook and “new” social media.
Although Facebook use is declining among 15-25 year olds because of other forms of social media like Twitter and Instagram, it’s always going to remain at the epicenter of social media. After all, it is the most popular and most-used platform out there. In our opinion as soon to be high school graduates, we think that Facebook is losing the battle as the leading social media outlet for teenagers. We have experienced first-hand the progression of social media usage from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, and the numbers talk, too:
- Facebook use for people aged 25 and under accounts for only 40 percent of all Facebook users. The other 60 percent lies within the older than 25 range; most of which occurring in in the 26-44 range (Mashable.com).
- In terms of regular usage, Facebook has lost over 10 percent of its youngest audience, whereas the usage of Pinterest among 16-24 years old has increased by as much as 72 percent in 2013 (Brandwatch).
Critics speculate that Facebook has finally hit the wall in terms of growth and we agree. We are no longer seeing increasing numbers of users and activity. Here’s why:
- It’s just, well, old – This year, Facebook turned 10, yes, a whole decade old. Twitter and Instagram are newer, and seen as “trendier” for pre-teen, high-school student, and young college kids because the majority of Facebook is at least generation older than we are. This has caused an increase in Facebook use among adults, but the reverse for people ranging in age from 15-25 years old. Even my 83-year-old grandmother has a Facebook!
- Nobody wants to read a rant – The Facebook status has become completely unnecessary, because we use Twitter for this purpose. We use Twitter solely to send out ‘statuses’ that get sent quickly and with a slicker interface, taking away the need to post Facebook statuses… unless you want to say something in more than 140 characters long. But who wants to read those anyway? Nobody. A short tweet is a far better way to update than an essay-length Facebook status.
- Photos upon photos – For our generation, Facebook is used as more of a database for images. Friends upload tons of images, and you’re tagged in your friend’s images, making a giant repository. Instagram, on the other hand, is where carefully selected (and flawlessly edited) photos are shared in a more organized format. These photos seem to say more with less. They’re more meaningful.
- It’s all about mobile – Twitter and Instagram are so much more mobile friendly than Facebook. It makes sense, since Instagram was build first and foremost as an app, and Twitter’s early updates came directly from text messages. The apps for these social networking sites are super reliable, easier to navigate and aesthetically pleasing. While the Facebook mobile platform is often unstable and slow.
All that said, Facebook does still have a place for our generation. We’re on it… just not as much as everyone else. This is mainly because of the profile – your social and online identity.
- The profile: So much info and so easy to find – Facebook gives an entire view of a person with the large amount of photos and information, which can’t be found on Instagram or Twitter. So, if you want to know more about a person, their Facebook profile will give your more information than Twitter and Instagram feeds combined.
- The ever-important profile picture – The Facebook profile picture is still by far the most socially important aspect of social media. There is always buzz surrounding a “new prof pic.” A change in profile picture is meaningful. It can indicate an important event rather than just posting a new photo on your constantly refreshing Instagram feed. For example, a new profile picture can mark the beginning or end of a relationship or indicate your college choice.
So, even though we aren’t the biggest fans of Facebook, it has its place. We’ll keep checking on it now and then. For us, there are much better options with Instagram and Twitter. No wonder Mark Zuckerberg snapped up Instagram so quickly!