Sunday, January 11, 2015

On Teenagers and Social Media Apps

I just read a story on Medium on "A Teenager's View on Social Media."  While reading it, I saw some interesting connections to my post about Twitter from back in 2009, so I thought it worth writing about.  Since I am now slipping inexorably closer to the "30" milepost, it's worth admitting that I'm probably not such an authority on such things anymore.

Disorganized thoughts and comments, arranged by social network:

Facebook


I've definitely noticed the shift in how Facebook "feels" to use.  It doesn't surprise me that it isn't considered cool anymore, since the exclusivity it originally had (by virtue of only allowing college .edu emails) has long since gone.  I definitely agree that it's hard to not have an account though.  Facebook grew fast enough that the network effects are incredibly strong now - if you aren't on Facebook, it's not that much of a hyperbole to say you're invisible in a social media sense.

I also find it interesting, and at times frustrating, how pretty much every conversation I used to have on AOL Instant Messenger has now moved to Facebook Messenger.  I still refuse to download the app though, out of spite.

Instagram


This one really is interesting, and I get the reasons the author mentions.  I'll admit that my own use of Instagram is fairly limited, but my fianc√© has attracted quite a few followers, due to tapping into the strong "craft beer aficionado" niche.  It definitely feels much less commercialized and "creepy" than Facebook.

Twitter


I admit, I feel somewhat vindicated that "To be honest, a lot of us simply do not understand the point of Twitter."  Although I did eventually get an account, I don't tweet very much.  I mostly use it to follow people who have interesting things to say, frequently "celebrities."  Though one strength I do see about Twitter in this regard is that you can follow people that you normally wouldn't hear too much about.   I can't see a gossip magazine caring one bit about Wil Wheaton's latest craft beer exploits, Adam Savage's latest prop-recreating obsession, or anything William Gibson has to say...

The odd parallel-life Twitter leads as a news outlet is also fodder for an entire post unto itself.

Snapchat


Yup:  I'm old.  Don't care.

Though I do find it interesting that the "private, but you know who you're talking to" aspect of it is very similar to the sort of things that initially drew me (and pretty much everyone I knew) to Facebook back in 2005-ish.  Note to future social media companies:  I think there's something there...

Tumblr


To quote:
"Tumblr is a place to follow/be followed by a bunch of random strangers, yet not have your identity be attached to it. Tumblr is like a secret society that everyone is in, but no one talks about."
Sooooo... you're saying it's LiveJournal, basically?  That's what I'm getting here.

YikYak


This is completely foreign to me.  I've seen the icon before, but that's about it.

Medium


Haven't really looked into this too much personally. (Though it is where the originally article is.  I found it through a link in the comments of another site.)  At this point, I'd have to say I pretty much look at all blogging services as more or less interchangeable, from a reader's standpoint.  This may be because few of my real-life friends maintain blogs anymore.  (and frankly, can you even say I do?  How long ago was the last post before this one?)

LinkedIn


"We have to get it, so we got it."  Yup.  I think this applies to pretty much everyone, regardless of age group.

Pinterest


Yup.  I do literally nothing with this site (though I do know what it is).

Kik, WhatsApp, and GroupMe


I can't bring myself to bother with pretty much any messaging app.  (Including, and especially, Facebook Messenger, though that one is more a form of feeble protest...)  E-Mail and group texts suffice (especially since among my iPhone-using friends, iOS 8 brought a lot of useful controls to group texting).  I totally get why WhatsApp is useful internationally, though.

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