Though I am a 19-year-old college sophomore, I’m starting to feel like the crotchety old man who refuses to buy a “cellular phone” or a laptop computer. What makes me feel this way? Facebook.
I was one of the first of my friends to use the website, having transitioned from MySpace to Facebook as a freshman (I’m what we in the business call an “early adopter”). Since then, I’ve been a loyal addict, updating statuses and uploading photos with the best of them. So it unsettles me when I hear that Facebook is dying-a rumor I tried to brush off until I read Victor Pineiro’s latest article on Ad Age.
In a presentation to eighth graders at a local junior high school, Pineiro asked the students what social media platforms they were most likely to use (interestingly, the students were largely unfamiliar with the term “social media platform” to begin with). While I would expect Facebook to be the most popular platform, only 2 out of 120 students used the website frequently. 115 frequented Instagram, while 85 chose Twitter and Vine, and 80 used Snapchat (students could have multiple answers).
These websites isolate specific aspects of Facebook into specialties; Twitter is largely text-driven (a tweet is equivalent to a status in my mind), while Vine focuses on videos and Instagram focuses on photos. It seems strange to me, but the appeal may lie in the fact that the students’ parents are stuck on Facebook while they have free-reign to post whatever they want on the other platforms.
What is unique about these platforms is that they are what is considered “dark” social media-media that is hard to analyze or measure. Snapchats disappear in ten seconds. The nature of this media makes it hard for marketers and advertisers to figure out best how to utilize the platforms to analyze. I have noticed personally that there seems to be more privacy on platforms like Instagram, where it is more difficult to circulate images, especially if accounts are blocked (users can’t “share” photos like on Facebook, and only followers of a user can see that user’s content).
Pineiro advises that advertisers should tap into these largely-untouched platforms if they want to attract the younger generation.
Pineiro, V. 2014, 15 January. 8th graders point the way to a new social strategy. AdAge.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014 from http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/8th-graders-point-a-social-strategy/291090/.