Youth and Social Media: Today and Beyond


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This presentation was given to a group of health professionals responsible for developing youth smoking cessation programs at an Iowa Department of Public Health conference in September 2013.

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Youth and Social Media: Today and Beyond

  1. 1. YOUTH AND SOCIAL MEDIA TODAY AND BEYOND jdhancock / flickr
  3. 3. What does the class of 2017 think? 98 first-year college students were asked to rank their favorite social networks...
  4. 4.
  5. 5. Teens like it, but they don’t love it.
  6. 6. It’s crowded. Mom, dad, grandma and all the cousins are oversharing and commenting on posts. Teens see value in Facebook as a way to stay in touch with family, but they’re self-censoring. Statistics don’t show a Facebook exodus, but they do show a decrease in teen usage as more networks compete for their attention. “Facebook just really seems to have more drama.” - 16-year-old Jaime Esquivel
  7. 7. Teens are migrating to Twitter.
  8. 8. 24% of online teens use Twitter. That’s more than double since 2011. Teens enjoy using Twitter to follow celebrities and share inside jokes among small circles of friends. 64% of teens on Twitter have public accounts. 60% maintain private accounts on Facebook. “The key is that there are fewer adults, fewer parents and just simply less complexity.” - Amanda Lenhart, Pew Research Center
  9. 9. Teens have become visual storytellers on Instagram.
  10. 10. Instagram has 150M monthly active users, ranking third (11%) behind Facebook and Twitter among teens who maintain social network profiles. Simplicity and celebrity presences add appeal. Many tweens, banned from Facebook by their parents, turned to Instagram to interact with friends. “By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram.” - 13-year-old Ruby Karp
  11. 11. Disposable social media is wildly popular.
  12. 12. Snapchat users are sharing 350M photos per day, up from 200M in June 2013 and 20M in Oct 2012. Exhausted from “success theater,” Snapchat users enjoy sharing raw, funny moments instead of perfected images. Snapchats self-destruct, reducing teen stress. Due to its non-reliance on text messaging, Snapchat is appealing to teens who don’t want to blow up their family’s cellular plan.
  13. 13. Teens are surprisingly creative with just six seconds.
  14. 14. Vine doesn’t break down demographics yet, but teens are clearly dominating usage. Using the app, Vine users quickly create, edit and share six-second looping videos on the fly. As with Twitter’s 140 characters, Vine’s six-second constraint inspires unexpected creativity. The Vine app doubled its share in the U.S. iPhone market in April 2013, reaching nearly 8% of all users with 18 million downloads.
  15. 15. This is how Vine works. A smartphone and thumb are all you need.
  16. 16. A few notes on teens and privacy.
  17. 17. Most teens report high levels of confidence in their ability to manage privacy settings on social networks. Teens take measures to shape their reputation, manage their networks, and mask information they don’t want others to know. Teens don’t express a high level of concern about third-party access to their data. 52% of teens say they’ve had an online experience that made them feel better about themselves.
  18. 18. Teens are sharing more and more information. 91% post a photo of themselves, up from 79% in 2006. 71% post their school name, up from 49%. 71% post the city where they live, up from 61%. 53% post their email address, up from 29%. 20% post their cell phone number, up from 2%.
  19. 19. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? photosteve101 / flickr
  20. 20. To reach teens (or anyone) online in 2013 and beyond, consider these fundamentals.
  22. 22. All of Coca-Cola’s online interactions are driven by core principles...
  23. 23.
  24. 24. Take time to understand what your organization’s voice and tone will be online.
  26. 26. Hire great writers and storytellers, regardless of age.
  27. 27. DON’T BE LAZY.
  28. 28. Put the work in. This is a 12-month social media content calendar by a company that sells horse feed.
  29. 29. Create original content and tell stories visually. Tweeting “Happy Veterans Day!” doesn’t cut it.
  30. 30. Review your metrics regularly. Most social platforms can gauge performance down to each post with free analytics tools. “I don’t know the ROI” isn’t a valid excuse anymore.
  31. 31. Don’t be desperate.
  32. 32. Be proactive. Surpise and delight!
  34. 34. The top brands on Instagram are all youth-oriented. Source:
  35. 35. Nike features user photos submitted via #justdoit ...
  36. 36. ... as well as their own original content.
  37. 37. Red Bull features behind the scenes shots from a video shoot...
  38. 38. ... and asks fans to Instagram their inspiration in color to promote the new cans.
  39. 39. Thanks! Nathan T. Wright @nathantwright
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