What is the Facebook of the future?

This is not a regular blog post with me talking about something completely awesome that you need to check out. Instead, let’s have a discussion about the future of social media. By this time next year, how will we be sharing information? 

This week I read “A Teenager’s View on Social Media — Written by an actual teen.” In the essay, 19-year-old student Andrew Watts wrote at length about the social media sites he and his peers use and why. It’s fascinating reading. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

  • Facebook is something we all got in middle school because it was cool but now is seen as an awkward family dinner party we can’t really leave.
  • Instagram hasn’t been flooded with the older generation yet (not everyone has an Instagram) meaning it’s “hip” and “cool” to the younger crowd.
  • To be honest, a lot of us simply do not understand the point of Twitter.
  • I only know a handful of people (myself included) that believe Snapchat does delete your photos. Everyone else I know believes that Snapchat has some secret database somewhere with all of your photos on it. While I will save that debate for another day, it is safe to say that when photos are “leaked” or when there’s controversy about security on the app, we honestly do not really care.
  • Tumblr is like a secret society that everyone is in, but no one talks about. It’s often seen as a “judgment-free zone” where, due to the lack of identity on the site, you can really be who you want to be.
  • LinkedIn — We have to get it, so we got it. Many wait until college to get this (as they probably should, it isn’t for this demographic anyways).

His essay has been the chatter on tech blogs everywhere this week, with some saying he nailed it and others saying social media analysis is much more complicated than the view of one teenager. He doesn’t claim that his opinions are the ultimate social media truth. In fact, he says, “This article will not use any studies, data, sources, etc. This is because you can easily get that from any other technology news website and analyze from there. I’m here to provide a different view based off of my life in this ‘highly coveted’ age bracket.”

UPDATE — Was Andrew right? I talked to my two favorite teens about his comments….

The latest PewResearch Internet Project Social Media Update (released this month) shows that 71% of online adults are on Facebook. More than half of young adults 18-29 (Andrew’s demographic) are using Instagram, and half of all Instagram users use that site daily. Twitter demographics skew younger, with 37% of online young adults listed as users.

No matter if his opinions are just a small trend or if he is speaking the truth for his generation, you should read his essay for a wakeup call. While many of us still stoke the fires of our Facebook pages and link our social media accounts through IFTTT so that our Twitter updates post to LinkedIn, we all need to be thinking about the future technologies that we will have to understand and use to attract and keep members of future generations.

I’m NOT a social media expert. I’m working just as hard as you are to keep up with the newest places that our audiences hang out. Recently we put some effort into my Instagram and Tumblr accounts, but they’re still pretty pathetic. After reading Andrew’s article, though, I feel the need (or even the pressure) to make sure I keep growing into other social networks.

But what IS the next Facebook? And how do we as social media participants find the right path? This YouTube video is humorous but scary — today it’s Facebook. Tomorrow it’s WooWoo. And next week? Please leave your comments below. I don’t have the answer… do you?

Talking to my favorite teens about social media
2015 can be your fittest year ever