Facebook Losing Teens; Where Have All the Teenagers Gone

Categories: Internet, The Web

In my spare time, I am a communication professor, and for the past few years I have been teaching a history of mass media course on the college level. Each semester, the students put together a media diary in which they monitor their media usage for three days. It's usually pretty eye-opening for them to see just how much media they consume. However, the past few semesters have also been eye-opening to me.

"I barely use Facebook anymore," one of my students said this semester, "because it's too annoying." (Italics, mine).

In fact, the majority of my students mentioned a decline in their use of the social media giant, opting instead for Instagram or Twitter. Given this information, I was not at all surprised with the report that came out this week stating that teens were leaving Facebook.

According to Facebook's Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, teen usage of the social network fell in the last quarter.

"We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens," Ebersman said, sending down the stock from the rise it saw after earnings were announced. "We wanted to share this with you now because we get a lot of questions about teens."

What are those crazy kids doing rather than sitting around "liking" each other's posts all day? According to some reports, teens are spending more time on Instagram, the photo-sharing site. Instagram doesn't allow for lengthy commentary, overtly political rants or an overwhelming number of event invitations. What it does allow for is pictures, the tagging of pictures and the liking of other people's pictures - and that's about it. Instagram also doesn't have one very distinct feature that Facebook has: your mom and your grandma.

According to a Pew research poll in May of this year, the number of teens using Facebook stayed fairly static but the percentage of those who adopted Instagram and Twitter jumped by double-digit numbers, 11 and 26 percent respectively.

One of the study groups quotes a teen female with stating: "Yeah, that's why we go on Twitter and Instagram [instead of Facebook]. My mom doesn't have that."

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