Social media is a language most teenagers speak fluently.
From connecting with their friends to sharing their opinions on the latest TV phenomenon, social networking sites are a big part of teen life.
A survey by the Pew Internet Project found that 93% of teenagers aged 12 – 17 are online, compared to 74% of all adults over the age of 18.
But which social media sites are most popular with teens, and why do they love them?
Facebook is consistently ranked as the top place for teenagers online.
Recent research by Piper Jaffray found that 33% of teenagers considered Facebook to be “THE” social media site. The majority of teenagers surveyed said they had an active account there, and Facebook is still a quick and easy place for teens to catch up with everything their friends are doing.
However, it seems Facebook’s popularity may be waning.
While it still reigns supreme as the most-used social media site among teenagers, its growth is gradually slowing, and Twitter is fast catching up as teenagers’ social media platform of choice. So why the change?
According to the Pew research, Facebook is seen as “too much drama” among some young people. So where are teenagers heading instead?
Twitter turned out to be the most important social network for 30% of respondents.
The gap between Twitter and Facebook is closing fast, and Twitter could be looking at a future as the top social networking site for teens.
Free to sign up and easy to use, Twitter offers its young users the best bits about Facebook, minus the more annoying bits.
They can still keep up with their friends moment to moment, and follow updates from any bands or shows they are into, both advantages Facebook also boasts.
But Twitter also offers few adverts, no constant requests to send their friends cows in the latest farm game, and less chance of Mom and Dad getting on Twitter and trying to follow them.
For teens, Twitter is like texting with their friends, except it’s free and many users can have a conversation at the same time.
With the site’s popular #hashtag feature making it easy to find and join in with conversations on any topic, it’s easy to see why Twitter is fast gaining in popularity.
The third most popular social media site with the teens who were interviewed was the image sharing site Instagram.
With 17% of teens naming it as their social networking site of choice, Instagram has a decent sized chunk of the market, and is well liked by other teens who did not rank it top, but still use it regularly.
Instagram is a way of snapping pics on an iPhone and instantly sharing them on the web.
Teens enjoy the creativity of being able to use Instagram’s hallmark filters to enhance photos and give them an artistic slant. Users can follow other users, re-share photos they like, leave comments, give shout outs for their friends’ pictures, and share the pictures through other sites such as Facebook.
With some teenagers gaining “instagram fame” and even charging for shout outs on their popular pages, Instagram is seeing a surge in popularity with teens. Instagram offers an instant picture log of everything that matters a teenager’s life, making it a popular choice.
Social media is an important part of life for many teenagers today, allowing them to connect with their circle instantly.
As research shows, opinions and trends can and do change, with different sites climbing in popularity.
One thing is for certain, teens will continuing exploring all that social media has to offer and showing the rest of us the best places to be.