For some teens, Facebook is little more than a 'business' tool

At this point it seems like a rite of passage: Become a teenager, get a Facebook account.

So I wasn’t too surprised when my 13-year-old sister and all her friends started friending me on Facebook.

What did surprise me, however, was why they’re joining.

Someone made them.

Entering her freshman year in high school, my sister was elected to the student government. She told me she had to join Facebook because that’s how the student government president communicates with the other members.

So to find out more, I took a trip back to my favourite club in high school, the newspaper. Back when I was on the newspaper staff, our primary form of communication was email, though during my senior year we did make a Facebook group for all the members. I even remember telling a few of the younger members of staff that they had to get email addresses.

However, the current editor-in-chief, 17-year-old Stacy Gerchick, told me that despite the fact Facebook is blocked on the school WiFi, she exclusively communicates information about deadlines, meetings and article assignments through a Facebook group.

“Facebook is more of a necessity,” she said. “We use Snapchat and Instagram more socially.”

In fact, Gerchick admits many of her friends did not make Facebook accounts until they were in high school. While they occasionally post pictures on Facebook, they generally avoid using it socially since many of them are connected to family members. They view Snapchat and Instagram as a more private place to post.

Gerchick mentioned that Facebook is useful for the school newspaper since it tells you who’s viewed your posts and messages. Often times she will privately contact someone if she notices they haven’t been viewing the messages she sends in the Facebook group.

So while teens might be losing general interest in Facebook, some of them continue to create accounts simply because they have to.

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