Teens are jumping the Facebook ship, but where are they going? Facebook confirmed the rumors that they are indeed losing the teen demographic. The new generation of teens are no strangers to the social network; their social footprint began before they were even born with parents posting baby announcements and baby photos shortly thereafter. It’s no wonder that teens are migrating elsewhere to socialize with each other and not their mothers and grandmothers.
The Privacy Phenomenon
Social is constantly making the news. It seems like everyday, another person is losing their job due to poor social judgement. Teens have always been wary of prying eyes, it’s no wonder that teens are flocking to social sites that allow some sort of privacy. Snapchat enables teens to pick who they want to send photos to. They have regained control. Teens no longer want to blast things on their social networks. Teens are more worried now than ever about leaving a social footprint. Snapchat gives an air of privacy that isn’t available on traditional social networks. And it gets bonus points for being temporary. “Snaps” last from 1-10 seconds, making social retribution less likely.
Snapchat – Users are able to choose time duration before sending a photo.
Trust in Anonymity
In a world where your face is connected to almost anything you post online, teens crave a bit of anonymity. The Whisper app allows teens to remain anonymous in this world where everyone seems to be connected to one another. Teens can post their secrets, without fear of judgement and without fear that it’ll somehow be traced back to them.
Cyberbullying has also become rampant among teens. The rise of the selfie has brought with it an onslaught of nasty comments. A new social site, We Heart It, enables teens to share photos and “heart” them without a comments feature, to ensure a safe, positive environment. They boast 25 million active users, 80% of which are from the age demographic of 24 and under.
Whisper – users choose a photo and post an anonymous secret.
Can commerce still be social?
Yes. As teens are moving away from traditional social networks, brands targeting them must also adapt. Teen brands have turned to social user generated content, giving teens control and essentially allowing them to dictate their brand. It is no longer about traditional advertising or even native advertising. Brands must interact with teens on a community level, without talk of sales or products. Brands that gain teens’ trust will also gain their loyalty. Enabling fan product galleries through user generated content, shows teens that other teens approve of their brand. Commerce can remain social through peer to peer engagement.
What does this mean for Facebook?
Facebook is even more powerful than before, without the fickle teens, Facebook continues to gain popularity among the more important buying demographic, age 24 and older. See our post, “Facebook, without the teen angst, is still Facebook” to see why it is still The Social Network.