I spent this weekend in Cleveland for my little cousin’s high school graduation. He’s 18. Most of his friends are 17-19 years old.
And when their eyes weren’t glued to the coolers of beer they couldn’t drink, they were looking at their smartphones: swiping around and giggling about whatever appeared on their tiny screens.
So, I conducted a very unscientific poll about how these teens are using their gadgets.
Here’s what I learned.
Most of the teens had iPhones, but my cousin told me one of his good friends has the Samsung Galaxy S4. I saw one with what appeared to be a budget Android device with a horribly cracked screen.
But what was more interesting than the devices the teens carried was how they used them. In short, there were only a handful of apps the teens use regularly: Twitter, Vine, and Instagram.
Vine, Twitter’s video-sharing app, is huge. The app has only been out for a few months, but has spread like crazy among my cousin’s high school friends and on my other cousin’s college campus. Everyone uses it.
After hearing they loved Vine so much, I had to know what they thought of Instagram’s new video feature, which copies many of the same aspects of Vine.
The teens told me they hate Instagram video and think it could potentially ruin the service.
But they still use Instagram for lots of things!
For example, a few students at my cousin’s high school formed a rock band and use Instagram to promote all their shows. They have a “social media guy” who follows other students on Instagram in order to encourage them to follow the band back.
To sum it up, it seems like the teens were more interested in visual apps that let them quickly share videos or photos. Twitter, which isn’t very visual, is good for posting quick messages that they know all their friends will read. For example, my cousin posted a reminder about his graduation party yesterday morning. That tweet got 22 “favourites” and was reposted by two of his friends.
And what about Facebook? Why aren’t they using Facebook as much?
Most of the teens are on Facebook, but they don’t use it as heavily as the other apps mentioned above. My cousin did use it to connect with his new college roommate, but I suspect the fact that the teens’ parents and older cousins like me are on Facebook doesn’t exactly entice them to share their activity on it very much.
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