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Emerging Patterns of Social Media Use
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Emerging Patterns of Social Media Use


What happens when everyone’s on Facebook? How in particular is the natural wish of young people to have their own places and cultures manifesting itself digitally? Moreover, how are we all changing …

What happens when everyone’s on Facebook? How in particular is the natural wish of young people to have their own places and cultures manifesting itself digitally? Moreover, how are we all changing our behaviour in light the data that we’re increasingly aware we give up when we use social sites? Is the often cited, rarely challenged belief that young people don't care about privacy actually true? How are kids coping with a world where they are growing up in public? Are the scare stories true, or is something more subtle emerging?

We look at Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat amongst others for clues to how behaviour is changing and - what this means for the audience, the networks and brands. We examine how a far more nuanced contract between these groups is being negotiated - and how to thrive in this emerging world. How do brands cope with younger groups sophistication when it comes to being marketed to - particularly given the huge global demographic shift due to take place, with over 50% of world's population due shortly to be under 25.

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  • Chart by John Willshire
  • The new networks – perhaps more so
  • Snowdon is a millenialThis is on top of the use of different networks to share different things with different peer groups
  • Leaving teens aside for a moment
  • This section is from the Cisco connected youth


  • 1. Emerging Patterns of Social Media Use @neilmajor Strategy Director, Yomego
  • 2. Eight premises A mixture of data, observation (and conjecture) …and some conclusions on what this all means for brands
  • 3. An opening observation 0 20,000,000 40,000,000 60,000,000 80,000,000 100,000,000 120,000,000 140,000,000 0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 60 63 66 69 72 75 78 81 84 87 90 93 96 99 Global Population by age
  • 4. 1. Real Time
  • 5. Imagine what attending school is like now
  • 6. I forgot my iPhone
  • 7. What this means for brands… Obvious really – the right message can spread through the network like wildfire – but so can the wrong one. Think like an editorial outlet
  • 8. …but don’t newsjack
  • 9. Know who you are (chart by @willsh)
  • 10. 2. Semi - Anonymous
  • 11. Private vs. Public Private Public
  • 12. What this means for brands… The social data land grab could be reaching its end However, the new networks are places of great user creativity. Learn the culture.
  • 13. 3. Curated self
  • 14. Curated self? The idea that young people don’t care about privacy is a myth. Young people are incredibly sophisticated at crafting their identity
  • 15. Example #1 Mikalah described that she deactivated her Facebook account every day after she was done looking at the site. Deactivation was introduced by Facebook as an alternative to deletion; users could deactivate their content and for all intents and purposes would disappear from the site, but if they later regretted it could reactive their account and retrieve all of the content, connections, and messages. Mikalah did this every day, which in effect made it so that her friends could only send messages or leave comments when she was logged in.
  • 16. Example #2 Shamika took a different approach. As she explained… she found that Facebook contributed to drama by providing a plethora of past comments that could be used against people whenever a friendship or relationship turned sour. Thus, she preferred to minimize her risk by deleting every comment she received after she read it. Furthermore, she’d write a comment on someone else’s page and then delete it the next day, presumably after they had seen it. Shamika’s constant deletion turned Facebook into a more ephemeral space, destabilizing the persistent nature of the space.
  • 17. Hiding from search engines Tum bl r an d L J u sers sep ar ate w ords thr ou gh o dd spacin g in o rde r to fo ol sea rc h en g i nes. Chinese users hide political messages in image attachments to seemingly benign posts on Weibo. General Pretraeus communicated solely through draft mode. 4chan scares away the faint of heart with porn. More technically astute groups communicate through obscure messaging systems. (insight via @kenyatta)
  • 18. Book recommendation! Follow: @zephoria Website:
  • 19. We are all increasingly security literate
  • 20. Young people lead the way
  • 21. …and are highly technically literate
  • 22. What this means for brands… Don’t be creepy (or assume your users won’t care) But if collecting data, move towards more explicit CTAs
  • 23. For instance…
  • 24. 4. Hyper visual literacy
  • 25. Photography is exploding
  • 26. Where are they located?
  • 27. Images spreads through the new networks with users are exposed to more than ever
  • 28. An example
  • 29. What this means for brands… Eye candy spreads! Make sure your sites are easy to harvest Mobile makes images the most important medium Take time to explore the visual web
  • 30. 5. Networks as cultures
  • 31. For example, Tumblr
  • 32. Consider the fandoms
  • 33. What does this mean for brands? It’s not enough to look at the technical nature of each site or demographics Consider the culture and don’t aim at individuals - think about the networks of users
  • 34. 6. Internet famous
  • 35. Internet famous
  • 36. Just Influencers? …not exactly. Influencers online traditionally are more akin to bloggers Internet fame is about what the network decides they like
  • 37. For instance…
  • 38. So just memes? It’s part of it, but only part of it. What it’s more a manifestation of the offline popularity contests that have already existed. Internet fame is an end in itself
  • 39. What this means for brands… Internet fame is a culturally closed world. Outreach is a little more problematic. Instead identify breakout hits early for maximum success (velocity)
  • 40. 7. Social as human right
  • 41. Workplace use of Social Media 56% of Generation Y will not work for a company that bans social media (40% work for companies that do) ¾ disobey these work policies
  • 42. But they don’t want to be tracked
  • 43. …and they don’t have to be anyway
  • 44. What this means for brands and companies Context is important – content will be received within a time poor environment The law of the playground exists in your company
  • 45. 8. What happens next?
  • 46. “Snowden is 30; he was born in 1983. Chelsea Manning is 25. Generation Y started around 1980 to 1982. But the signs of disobedience among Generation Y are merely a harbinger of things to come.” Charles Stross, Foreign Policy, 28.8.13
  • 47. “Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog- eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than the… nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century. But if you turn the Internet into a panopticon prison and put everyone inside it, where else are you going to be able to recruit the jailers? And how do you ensure their loyalty?" Enter Generation Z
  • 48. What this means for us… If things continue as they are, an inevitable tension between the establishment and generation will result Given the demographics at play this is unlikely to end well
  • 49. …so in summary
  • 50. 1. Assume a critical audience 2. Be open (explicit) 3. Learn their culture 4. Examine them as networks 5. Work with them – not through them 6. If it’s not mobile, it won’t work 7. Work/home/online/offline distinctions are dead 8. Watch the demographics
  • 51. Thank you! @neilmajor Strategy Director, Yomego