Teenagers and Social Media

This is a time where adult life is starting to kick in. When creating a social media strategy recently, I was puzzled on how to engage with teenagers and the younger population. Internship expert, Lauren Berger, tweeted a thought that sparked my interest to look into what social media teenagers are using…

Lauren Berger tweet

…and then the puzzled question goes through my head, “Where in the world are teenagers in social media?!” So naturally I go to my trusty old partner, Pew Research. Pew posted an great presentation by Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research of Teens & Technology, called Teens & Technology: Understanding the Digital Landscape. Some great hard facts from 2012:

  • 95% of teens use the internet (holy cow), 93% of teens have a computer and 74% teens are mobile internet users
  • one in four teens use their cell phone rather than a computer
  • 94% of teens are on Facebook, 26% on Twitter, 11% on Instagram and 1% on Pinterest

Lets talk about the percents Lenhart presents on. Even though 94% of teens are on Facebook, I don’t believe they are active on it like teens are active on their Twitter or Instagram accounts. Which is why Facebook is becoming the “Mom Platform” of social media. With the babyboomer generation taking over Facebook, upcoming generations are finding new places to be. This is why Instagram is so popular with ages 12-19. Lenhart states an 19 year old female saying, “Yeah, that’s why we go on Twitter and Instagram [instead of Facebook]. My mom doesn’t have that.” My 14 year old cousin isn’t even on Facebook, but post Instagram and Snapchat images daily. Teens are going to more social media platforms with less interaction because they are stressed with the “drama” Facebook can create with its unlimited word count. Twitter only gives 140 words and Instagram in a photo sharing site. This simple interaction avoids drama with people.

Any professional who is creating a social media campaign needs to factor in the young generation to maximize success. By using visual communication, helping teens build their social reputation and avoiding drama a social media campaign can attract teens and create that viral buzz.


4 thoughts on “Teenagers and Social Media

  1. Thank you for sharing these statistics! I think it’s amazing how 94% off teenagers are on Facebook alone, that blows my mind. I’m shocked that no more than 11% have Instagram. I thought that percentage would be much higher, especially because of the popularity it has received in the past couple of years. This was a great post, it really put social media usage into perspective, thanks for sharing!

  2. This post shares a lot of interesting statistics about social media usage across different age groups. Although these statistics are new to me, it doesn’t surprise me at all. Not only may it have something to do with teenagers not wanting their parents on the same social media platform as them, but also the simple fact that Facebook is old and Instagram is new. It’s all about keeping up with the newest, hottest trends for teens. Overall, this was a great post! It really brought to light some interesting facts about social media usage and raises the question of where it will go in the future.

  3. This was such an interesting post and I really enjoyed it! I was actually shocked to learn that only 11% of teenagers are on Instagram. I thought the percentage would be a lot higher. Having two young teenage cousins in my life, I could not agree more with the recommendation to professionals to factor in the young generation through outlets other than Facebook. I feel that the percentage for Facebook is so high (94%) because the majority of teenagers have a Facebook account, but this does not mean they are active on it. My younger cousins also look at Facebook as a forum in which parents are active on. For this reason other outlets, such as Twitter and Instagram are more appealing. The younger generations do not want their parents to have access to their entire profile, so they resort to other outlets. I think it is important to understand this distinction and for companies looking to target the youth to utilize more than Facebook to achieve the maximum reach.

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