Thursday 20 July 2017

Why I would rather be on Instagram right now

Discover the ins and outs of the ever-expanding kingdom of social media through the eyes of someone in the middle of the rush - a teenager

“We don’t have a choice whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

Teenagers are superior creatures when it comes to social media, so don’t feel embarrassed if you feel a little frazzled. This guide introduces you to the major social media platforms millennials love, and why. At the bottom, there’s a glossary of the most important vocabulary you’ll need to stay afloat when the topic comes up in conversation. Let’s dive in.

1. Instagram (in-stuh-gram)

Now one of the current social media giants, Instagram has rightfully earned its place on our phone screens. With over 500 million active monthly users, including 28% of adult internet users, the image sharing platform has monumental reach. So, what’s the big deal? Instagram is all about popularity: how many followers[i] you have and how many likes[ii] you can get. If you haven’t already guessed, we’re obsessed with being the best. More dedication and effort is put into one post than a whole night’s worth of homework, as each upload must maintain your personal image and validate how perfect your life is.

The ultimate aim of Instagram is personal branding – whether you are popular, a party-hard, a hippy, or an edgy outcast, your Instagram profile[iii] is your proof. There are a variety of profiles dedicated to hobbies such as travel, food, art, as well as celebrities and famous brands, which are useful ways to survive maths class on Monday morning.

2. Snapchat (snap-chat)

This self-deleting, photo-sharing service has become widely popular because it emphasises a more natural flow of conversation. Unlike Instagram, your amount of friends is not visible and you are not able to like posts, encouraging a more relaxed atmosphere. Because posts are deleted after 24 hours from your story[iv], Snapchatters don’t need to perfect every post, with many people casually uploading 2-4 pictures or videos of their everyday life to their story every day. Instagram is your highlights, Snapchat is your life story. 52% of Snapchat’s 150 million active daily users are under the age of 25, and 30% of all (yes, all) US millennial internet users use Snapchat regularly. In other words: it’s big news.

Snapstreaks are the main cause for Snapchat addiction – a severe and lifelong condition. A fire emoji[v] appears next to one of your friends’ usernames if you have snapped[vi] each other within 24 hours for three consecutive days. That’s the beginnings of a Snapstreak. If you continue to snap each other within a 24 hour window then a number will appear next to the fire emoji and will increase for each day you snap each other. Teenagers are crazy about Snapstreaks, regarding them as evidence for their popularity and competing with one another to get high snap scores. Many get up to 100, 200 days and sometimes a whole year! Of course, this demands the use of Snapchat every day, and explains why we are so distraught when our phones are confiscated.

3. Whatsapp (wots-ap)

A free messaging service is something everyone needs in their lives.

Whatsapp answers that call. Simple, easy to use, it fulfils its purpose – there’s really nothing more one can ask for. We have no money, and the no-pay aspect is what attracts teenagers most. It’s free to send anything, anywhere – even to other countries.

Whilst many social media platforms have a group-text[vii] function, everyone always reverts back to Whatsapp whenever get-togethers need organising. While this blog is focused mainly on teenagers’ use of social media, due of its straightforward layout, Whatsapp is one of the only social networking apps that is basic enough for older generations to understand. Congratulations!

If you’re in the marketing business, you’ll know that email open rates rarely climb above a pitiful 30%. With Whatsapp, it’s a different story: a staggering 70% open rate for all messages, with big brands falling over themselves to get a piece of the action. And with over 1.2 billion monthly users, Whatsapp’s potential is massive.

4. Dying breeds

Facebook (feys-book) and Twitter (twit-er), are no longer the big social media platforms for millennials, even though over the recent years they have been adopted by our parents. So if you haven’t even heard of them, I’m sorry but you are past saving. Being word-based apps in an age where the most successful social media are orientated around sharing images has left them in the dust.

Because of rapid advances in technology, teenagers pass life in a blur, constantly surrounded by stimulations clamouring for our attention. That’s why there are many others things I would rather and could be doing, than reading about why you like the weather. Sorry Mum.

And that marks the end of your education, class. Now do you finally understand why us teenagers waste all our phone storage and use up that 4GB of data in the first week of the month?

i Follower - a person who follows or subscribes to another's posts on a social media website

ii Like - an indication of approval of an uploaded image and/or piece of text, indicated by a heart-shaped icon

iii Profile - a personal account that shows all of your photos, videos, followers and settings

iv Story - where all your posts appear, they can be viewed unlimited times by your friends until they self-delete

v Emojis - small digital icons that are used in telecommunication, often used to portray thoughts or feelings

vi Snapped (to snap) - privately send a friend a picture that only they can see and will self-delete after they view it

vii Group-text - when you can message multiple people simultaneously

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