Each year, we like to share a teen’s perspective regarding their social media use so that youth-serving adults can be “in the know” as to what adolescents are up to these days. I hope it updates you and provides an instructive viewpoint on the way in which teens approach technology use, friendships, online hate – as well as what they are enjoying most and what they are liking the least. Here we go!!
I have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Would you guess just by reading that that I’m around the age of 16 to 20? The ans wer is probably a rhetorical yes. Not a probably in this instance though, a definitely, because I’m 19 years old. So hey, I’m Adrianna and I’m a sophomore at the University of South Florida in Tampa. And like I said earlier, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and a Pinterest that I actively use on almost a daily basis. I’ll be straight up though, I have a lot of dislike in social media. I still use it enough, but I don’t like some stigmas and perceptions that it portrays. On the other hand, I like in the connection sense that it creates. You can literally see what people that you haven’t talked to in years are up to. And it’s as easy as searching a name or an @. All in all, social media’s a weird thing for me. I have a lot of opinions and a lot of concerns and a lot of ideas for it.
So, I started with the claim that I straight up have a lot of dislike towards social media. Let me explain this. I have a lot of dislike because of all the negative that is spotlighted.
I’ll start with Twitter. If something’s going on in politics, suddenly everyone has an opinion. Not always the correct opinion too. Then these opinions make people comment and people comment on the commented opinions. And thus, a chain is formed. Endless combating opinions that are not correct and just create a full 360 back to the original statement.
I saw this tweet, and I laughed because it was so accurate. This tweet itself got TONS of comments. Example, this girl immediately attacks and calls her “Becky.” In this generation, referring to someone as “Becky” is a derogatory term to call a girl a “basic b*tch.” Then example 2, this person thought it would be great to just reply with a “gif” of Ice Cube saying “Shut up b*tch.” These are just two of thousands though. She got completely torn apart for an opinion. However, there were a handful of comments that clearly defended her. This is where social media gets confusing to me.
Everyone has the freedom of speech and freedom to say whatever they want. Some people’s freedom is just supported more than others. The people that defended this girl all did it in a very kind and respectful manner, the people that opposed her should of followed these guidelines too.
This isn’t only relevant in terms of politics though. It’s relevant in drama. This more so applied to me in high school, we would call it “Twitter drama” or a “Twitter fight.” To me, it’s just the immature way of handling a 1 on 1 conversation. I don’t think the world has to see your personal status between you and anyone else. This then leads me to the Twitter made term “subtweeting.” To define, this is the concept of tweeting something specifically to target an individual, but never actually addressing that individual in the tweet. I personally have had terrible experience with “subtweets.” For a brief background, I broke up with a high school boyfriend of mine, and to say the least, it became a Twitter breakup. For months and months I was being “subtweeted” by him. My friends would constantly screenshot them and send them to me because it was so obvious that it was directed at me.
“Subtweeting” is the lowest form of bullying to me. It shows how low one person can get to make another person lower. The worst part, you can’t do anything about it. There’s no way to stop someone from tweeting or get rid of anything for good. Twitter is my least favorite social media for these reasons. The freedom people have on it gets way too out of hand in 140 characters or less. Recently, since I’ve been in college, I’ve considered deleting it more and more each day. I haven’t tweeted a single thing in the past year at least, and constantly reading negative or derogatory comments every time I open it gets very old.
Here we go, social media number two: Facebook. If any of you looked me up on Facebook, you would probably think it’s a fake account. I have a total of 32 friends, 2 pictures, the school I’m attending, and my birthday. So, as you can tell, I’m a huge Facebooker! Kidding, I’m not. I reserve Facebook mostly to my family. Out of those 32 friends I have some that aren’t family, but if it’s not close family, then its close friends.
I have noticed that Facebook has slowly been exiting out of my generation. There are still a lot of people my age that post regularly and use it, but for the most part it’s been taken over. Now it’s known to be the “obsessive parents posting” site. Which I won’t say is wrong, maybe the obsessive part is a little inaccurate though. But what I’m saying is, it has switched to the attraction of older people. I would say a bulk of Facebook’s active users are around the ages of 28 to 60. I mean, I think it’s awesome. It’s a social media platform that adults understand and like so by all means, let them use the heck out of it.
However, it hasn’t always been like this. I remember when I was in sixth grade, I wanted a Facebook SO bad. My mom finally agreed to let me make one and I loved it. I remember the first thing I ever posted was “PIZZA!!!!!!” because the first thing it said was, “What’s on your mind?” I was so young and clueless, what a classic first Facebook post though. But as I was saying, it wasn’t always adult occupied. The years of about 2010-2014, it was poppin. If you didn’t have a Facebook and if you weren’t in the know, you weren’t cool. It was just one of those things.
It’s funny though, now it has this feature called “On This Day” and it literally pulls up things from as far as 6 years ago. When I got to 1 year ago, that is when I stopped using it as much. This feature though, really made me realize how obnoxious of a tween I used to be. The obsessive exclamation point use, the less than 3 emoticon (aka a heart <3), and too many other gravestones that it continually unburies. Also, let’s keep in mind that Facebook wasn’t smart enough at the time to know that a : ) was an emoticon for a smile face. So, within the years, my lame colon parenthesis became faces. And like I said, obsessive exclamation points…everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My friends and I look back on these things now and wonder what was wrong with us. It’s entertaining though. Last thing I have to say about Facebook, and this is the one thing that I like a lot about it now is a feature called “Marketplace.” I LOVE this feature. It has saved me insane amounts of money. Basically, people can sell anything through Facebook. It’s as easy as messaging them, coordinating a time to pick it up and buying it. Yes, I know, this could be incredibly sketchy. But I’m about 99% positive it’s less sketchy than something like Craigslist.
Like I was saying though, this feature helps me as a college student save tons of money. People sell textbooks, dorm room needs, clothes…everything a college kid wants, but is too poor for (aka me). I’ve used Facebook Marketplace for all these things. I got textbooks for this semester, my mini fridge, my microwave, some clothes, and some cute dorm room pictures. Every time it’s been super easy and worked out just fine. So, to close my Facebook rant, it doesn’t appeal with its original purpose to me anymore, but new features keep me active on it.
Okay okay…Instagram. I LOVE INSTAGRAM. I love pictures. Taking them, seeing them, and looking through them. Instagram is my favorite. I think it’s so fun and entertaining, it’s just the best. It is kind of funny though, because as of right now I only have 17 posts. I’ll be honest though, I am one of those people that deletes after a while. Or if I just start feeling like the picture isn’t as good as I thought it was, I’ll take it down. I just love putting pictures up so people can see them, like them, comment and wonder what I’m up to. I know that I personally get inspired to go certain places if I see someone who posted a cool picture from it.
I am going to bash on Instagram real quick though. I strongly dislike the “bro I have 10k followers!” or the “oh my gosh my picture didn’t get 100 likes, I’m deleting it.” I don’t get it, I don’t understand it and I don’t know why it matters, I just don’t know. To me, Instagram is just to share your personal pictures to the world and show people where you are or what you’re doing or who you’re hangin with.
My other bash on Instagram is the trend that mostly college kids have picked up on, which is the concept of “Finstas.” It basically means fake Instagram and to explain in a short it’s a separate account that someone will make to post true thoughts or not real Instagram worthy pictures. Most of the time Finstagrams include drunk party pictures, deep feelings, confessions, or “body pos” pictures. “Body pos” pictures get a bad rap because generally they are just referred to as nudes. Some girls will post a “body pos” picture in a sports bra and bathing suit/underwear/spandex and get a lot of negativity instead of (body) positivity. So, an example of a real life Finstagram is the same person, but polar opposite kind of posts. It’s an interesting concept, but I guess if it helps people get what’s on their minds out then that’s beneficial to them. Personally, it’s a no for me.
You would think Finstagrams would create drama too, but from the Finstas I follow no one ever really questions any of the posts. I question why people share some of the things they share, but that’s just me. Besides all of that, I enjoy using Instagram. It’s basically the first thing I go to when I open my phone or if I’m bored. When I’m bored though, I can literally be opening that thing every other 20 minutes just to see if there’s any new posts.
Okay so last one, Snapchat. I can’t say that I love Snapchat because I don’t, but I do like it. I think it’s veered away from its original purpose, so that annoyed me. But if you use it for its real purpose, I like it. They added, and continuously add new features that they think people want in the app, but in reality I don’t think people really care. Or at least I don’t.
One feature that’s the most recent is Snapchat Maps. It literally shares your location with all your Snapchat friends. To me, this is tragically stupid. Why would you ever put your location out there for people to see and just casually find you? That’s a no. I have mine on Ghost Mode because I could never.
So, here’s what Snapchat Maps looks like. If you zoom in enough to someone, you can legit see the street they are on. And if it’s not weird enough, if someone is driving or in a plane, it literally puts their Bitmoji (the little character) IN A CAR OR A PLANE. That’s crazy. I don’t have much on Snapchat Maps though, just why I don’t like it, that’s all.
So, talking about Bitmojis, Snapchat paired with Bitmoji and I LOVE IT. Before, Bitmoji was an app where you can make a little character that looks like you, but now Snapchat paired with them and you can put them in snaps, and what not. If youre snapping someone specifically, you can even put their Bitmoji and your Bitmoji together, and it’s the cutest thing. This is my Bitmoji, and not to brag, but I think she looks just like me (and she’s super cool). I love Bitmoji though, I think its adorable. You can also text people Bitmojis. It’s pretty cool. Most teens have them, and just like me seem to like them a lot. I know a lot of the teens from my generation think of that old show Lizzie McGuire, and how she always had the little mini cartoon version of her on her shoulder. Now, Bitmojis are real life versions of that.
Okay, another fun thing about Snapchat…streakssssssss. I’m addicted to mine. Yes, I only have three. But I’m really dedicated to those three (especially that 303 one). It takes a lot of commitment to maintain one. Not gonne lie, I usually break the streaks…oops. But these three I gotta keep. Its my two best friends and my boyfriend, so I guess you could say they’re pretty special. Then its cool because the emojis next to them show what level of best friend you are. The double pink heart is my super best friend that I snap the most. Then the smiles are just best friends that I snap second, and third to my super best friend. I don’t know, I personally think that’s cute.
Also, all the Snapchat filters. They’re hilarious, I swear. Some of them make me so ugly its amazing. I always maintain my streaks by sending me with the new snap filter on. They either screw up your face, or put silly bunny ears on you, or make your voice all crazy. It’s fun. It’s like Apple’s Photobooth, but on Snapchat. For awhile I thought the filters were annoying and I was kind of ehh about Snapchat, because all people did was send filter snaps, but I started messing with them more and ended up liking them.
One feature I don’t like, the messaging. Its annoying and doesn’t make sense, because that’s not what snap is used for. Plus, Snapchat doesn’t save the messages, so if you open it and then close it, it’s gone and you have no clue what they said. I never use it. If I wanna talk to someone I’ll text them. The feature that I like, that I know most teens don’t, is the news area and how you can read stories and everything is given to you right there. For me, it keeps me involved in what is going on without having to watch local news or something. Some stories are funny though (example: blue dog???) and other stories are weird (example: goths???), and then others are pretty legit (example not pictured: politics). I don’t read these daily, but if I’m bored I tend to scroll through them. Okay, so that’s basically Snapchat. I’m not addicted, but I definitely use it second to Instagram.
So, after all that, it probably seems like I enjoy social media much more than my original claim implied. Well yes and no. I enjoy some and I strongly dislike others. Its all just a mix for me. I honestly feel like social media can do wonders in terms of reaching out to my generation, and it really is all how you utilize it. I don’t know, it will be interesting to see if some things fade (like Facebook did), or if some things stay and just continuously get upgraded and have update after update.
I would like to see something revolutionary come out of social media though. Like, would the world be more connected one day? Or can elections take place 100% through an app? Or maybe even take place of all TV’s? Who knows. I know one thing though, social media is not going away anytime soon. On that note, I’m going to go scroll through Instagram for a little, then probably Snapchat some people to keep my streaks, and maybe even check my Facebook just because.
Bye world, and thanks for reading!
Great insights, thanks. I love the part about how stupid being on a SnapChat map is, and how streaks & funny keep you glued to the app.
Also, I discovered MarketPlace in Facebook actually helped you. Haven’t used it much yet.
This is fantastic! its so great to see our youth confident with themselves. Bullying must stop!