According to a recent survey, Facebook is losing popularity among US teens. Where’s the world heading next?
Most of us can’t imagine a world without social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat or Twitter, our busy thumbs need to be tapping away on a surface almost constantly.
The truth is, communication is now very much a digital experience. From conference calls to Whatsapp and the emoji generation, being a good communicator now requires more than just smooth talk and fancy words. You need to know how to work it, digitally.
Facebook has been our friend for more than a decade. For many of us, we’ve grown up with Facebook by our side. It’s reported to be the world’s biggest social network with more than two billion users. However, that seems to be the case among young American teenagers today.
According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Centre, the social networking giant is losing ground in an age group it has long dominated in: teens aged between 12 and 17 years. Pew Research found that only 51% of American teens in that category use Facebook.
Compare this statistic to 85% for YouTube and 72% for Instagram, and it seems safe to conclude this: the generation of tomorrow doesn’t care much about text. They want to engage their senses as much as possible, and that’s through what’s real.
Credit: Dũng Trần Việt
In the same study, Pew found that apps which have a solid foothold on the younger generation include YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. A staggering 85% of American teens say they watch YouTube, with 72% using Instagram. YouTube has an ever-growing vlogger and influencer population, and teenagers are flocking to the platform to see their favourite stars up close.
Numerous studies have found that social media impacts us psychologically and emotionally, whether we like it or not. According to research by Duke University psychologist Jenna Clark and team, you can either feel lonely or connected depending on what you do on Facebook.
If you’re using social media to connect with others, stay in touch and organise face-to-face activities, you’re likely to feel more connected. However, if you’re using social media to only connect with people you cannot see, you may not have time to get out of the house and meet up with real people around you. Slowly, you’ll start feeling lonely.
Clark and her research colleagues warn against two things: social snacking and self-comparison. The first is when you browse your social media platforms and others’ profiles without making any contribution of your own. The other is when you start feeling discontent at seeing the glamorous lives other people are leading. After a while, feelings of insignificance and lack of self-worth may creep up.
Credit: James Connolly
At the end of the day, social media is very much a part of our lives. We can choose to embrace or reject it (as many have), but responsible use will take us a long way. Which social media app do you use most?
Here in Sabah, it’s probably Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Snapchat and Twitter haven’t docked at our shores just yet. No matter which app you use most, we encourage you not to forget the world outside of your screen! Get the creative juices going by picking up a paintbrush, or take a friend out to lunch instead of catching up over text.
At the end of the day, the lives we are living — the real ones, at least — are comprised of what happens off-screen. The glam lives and photographs you see may not be an accurate reflection of the person’s true self and emotions. So use social media to your advantage, and don’t let it rule you.
If you think art is beautiful, you’d love the art of tattoos!