What teens want for ‘cool’ social media platforms

Teens are keen on quality photos and short videos about prominent people. file photo | nmg
Teens are keen on quality photos and short videos about prominent people. file photo | nmg 

Teenagers globally are migrating to Snapchat and Instagram attracted by special animated features such as puppy faces, cat ears, dangling glasses and flower crowns on user faces, lacking on Facebook.

Research by eMarketer released in August 2017 shows a drop in the percentage of teenage users aged between 12 to 17 by 3.4 per cent, following a 1.2 per cent decline in 2016.

“We have seen teens and tweens migrating to Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms have been successful with this demographic since they are more aligned with how they communicate that is, using visual content,” said eMarketer, senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco.

Teens feel Facebook grouped them with parents (aged 40-55) who followed them there and stayed after realising it was a fun place to reconnect with their high-school friends and distant family.

“Although Facebook cuts across all ages, teenagers feel a level of exclusivity with platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, which are now more appealing among Kenyan youth because we live in a conservative society that is not accepting teens dating or living in a certain way, therefore teenagers are not comfortable sharing such a platform with their parents,” said Bruce Gumo, a marketing analyst at BizTrace, a market solutions company.

Apart from privacy from an older generation, the use of images keeps teens hooked following the daily lives of celebrities, bloggers and people they admire through quality photos and short video stories.

They want an opportunity to share 10-second long videos with animated features to a generation that has the shortest attention span yet recorded, according to research.

Teens also enjoy the fact that they can upload videos that disappear within 24 hours and after being viewed by people in their follower list, giving a sense of privacy and access to fresh content.

And as the teens swap short-lived video snaps, the millennials (aged 20-35) have moved actively into online branding, with many using social media to enhance their careers, through blogging, writing, photography, fashion and other entertainment fields.

A 2017 study by Belk College shows that millennials, who are the most educated and ethnically diverse of the generations, often delay marriage for careers and will be almost half of the workforce by 2020, as 10,000 baby boomers retire daily.

But the millennials surveyed by the college say they would rather have no job than a job they hate, and one-third prefer recognition to overpay, in a mix that is driving them towards heavy social media use, and undertakings such as brand influencing.

Baby boomers, by contrast, use platforms of choice as an escape from their daily lives. For them, Facebook, for example, is somewhere they log onto to get away from the boring daily routine and take time to connect with a few friends.

Research by lifestyle site Silver Surfers reports that Facebook is the most used social media platform for the over 50-year-olds, with 47 per cent of them believing they will use Facebook more as they grow older.

Meanwhile, platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are used by people in the corporate world, CEOs and the elite, who go there for access to information and to air opinions on various matters.

“People on Twitter are well educated and are from the working class. They use Twitter to get current news and are usually opinion shapers.

They have very good English and an overview of the world. You will rarely find people use Swahili on Twitter,” said Mr Gumo.

According to research by Pew Research Centre, Twitter is more popular among Generation X (aged 36-49) who are highly sophisticated, with 29 per cent of users with college degrees.

However, Facebook still has the largest demographic of all social media platforms and still remains the main marketing platform, with one billion people in the world active Facebook users.

- African Laughter