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Teen interest in established social media is declining

Facebook becoming less important as teens seek out their own networks

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 10, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2ea6

Social media has now been around for a decade now, which means that there is an entire generation of teenagers who do not remember a world without Facebook or Twitter. To them, these sites have always been around, and they probably are starting to seem like they are kind of old hat.

Interest among teens in each of the top social networks is now on the decline, according to a study by Piper Jaffray released Wednesday, which ranked the importance of both social media websites and social networks for 5,200 teenagers.

When asked to rank which social media website is most important to them, there has been significant falloff for the many of the big social networks, especially Facebook, when comparing interest in the Spring of 2012, Fall of 2012 and Spring of 2013.

When it comes to interest in social media sites, Facebook  had the biggest dropoff, going from over 30% to just over 20%. That simply might be because it had such a big lead a year ago, though, and had the furthest to fall. It is now tied with YouTube as the most important social media site for teens, and could be taken over soon.

Other big social media site, including YouTube, Google+ and Tumblr, all saw declines as well. Interestingly, Twitter, though it is still down from where it was a year ago, did actually rise in importance since the Fall.

The only social media website to be generating more interest now than in the Spring of 2012 is Pinterest, which makes sense since it is the newest website on the list, and teens have not had a chance to get sick of it yet.

When it comes to which network is most important, Facebook should be concerned. While most networks either went up, or stayed the same, Facebook once again had a significant decline. 

Though it still leads the pack with 33%, Facebook's importance as a network is down 9% from this past Fall. Twitter came in a close second with 30%, up 3%. Instagram also saw a big increase, going up 5% to 17%.

So does do these results mean that teen interest in social media is going away? Not exactly. In fact, it seems more that teens, as they tend to do, want to find their own networks and platforms, Piper Jaffray says. They want to discover their own new and cool networks, and not those used by their elders.

When asked to write in their favorite social networks not mentioned on the survery, the top five were: Wanelo, Vine, Snapchat, Kik, and 4chan. Indeed, Vine's popularity has been on the rise, recently becoming the top free app in the App Store. 

The results in the Piper Jaffray report are a combination of two surveys, one that asked 1,600 teens, who come from upper income families that have an average household income of $104,000; and a survey of 3,600 average-income teens, who come from families taking home an average of $54,000 a year.

(Image source: http://www.marriedtoaballer.com)


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