Sunday, May 7, 2017

Social Media Landscape Navigation?


During a recent conversation with my great niece and great nephew — both media savvy teenagers — I broached the topic of social media, curious about their online habits..


It was apparent to me, from the absence of posts, that they were not heavy Facebook users. When I inquired why, I was surprised to hear their response: “Facebook is passé for us.” I was stunned. Passé? So if it is passé, I asked, “What has replaced it?” Their response was immediate: Snapchat and Instagram. 

Related Article: The Future of Social Media?

I knew about Snapchat and Instagram, but had not realized that these two relatively new social media applications — Instagram debuted in 2010 and Snapchat in 2011 — had surpassed Facebook as the choice of social media for the teen and young adult population.

Indeed, according to a recent Time magazine article, the 18-to-34-year-old age group makes up almost 50 percent of these two applications’ users, while Facebook serves only 36 percent of this age group.

A subsequent conversation with a “twentysomething” revealed that Instagram was her top social media choice. Her reason: “It is simple and easy to shoot and post pictures and it’s a great photographic database.”

Indeed, Instagram is a photography-based application that allows users to post pictures, add brief text and, most importantly, assign one or more hash tags (#) to identify the subject matter.


These hash tags are critical to Instagram. They allow anyone on Instagram to search on a hash tag and find related content. For instance, when this “twentysomething” purchased a van to convert into a “home on wheels,” she immediately searched “#vanlife” for inspiration.

From that search she also located another hash tag “#homeiswhereyouparkit” to locate additional photos. You don’t need to be anyone’s “friend” or even let the person know you are looking at his or her photos.

But if you want to see all photos that a person posts, you can choose to “follow them.” My “twentysomething” friend not only follows folks who post van life pictures, but she herself has more than 400 followers (most unknown to her) who follow her adventures.


In stark contrast to Instagram, Snapchat is an app created to deliver photos and videos that disappear almost instantly — that’s right, they intentionally disappear.


Described aptly by Time magazine as a “visual texting” app, Snapchat founders were inspired to create this application because they believed “a zillion memories can be a burden.” Snapchat has become the darling of the teen and young adult crowd, eclipsing both Facebook and Instagram.

This demographic seems to embrace the ephemeral nature of the application, enjoying the instant burst of “snaps,” and thriving on the application’s stories feature that allows you to share “your day” with your followers. In 2013, noting the wild success of Snapchat, Facebook offered $3 billion to purchase the application; the offer was refused.

Today the company is valued at $24 billion. “Snaps” disappear after 10 seconds and “Stories” disappear after 24 hours (though there are ways to save the images). But the focus is a fast, furious and fresh approach to keeping in touch with friends in “real time.”


Even though my niece and nephew aren’t Twitter users, it is the third most popular social media app for this age group. Twitter burst onto the social media scene in 2006 and is now best known as President Trump’s preferred communication method. Twitter limits users to 140 characters per “tweet.”


While the message may be short, the impact can be powerful, especially if you have 27.5 million followers.

In truth, you don’t have to have a Twitter account to follow tweets. A number of people start their morning by reviewing “Trump’s tweets” at @RealDonaldTrump. Or, you can create an account on Twitter and “follow” Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or anyone who has a Twitter account.

You can “retweet” their tweets, “like” their tweets, forward their tweets or simply read them. Like Instagram, Twitter allows hash tags to be added to tweets; searching a hash tag allows you to follow a Twitter conversation.

Not quite as popular as Instagram and Snapchat nor as financially valuable as Snapchat, it is a major social media platform.



No one has yet calculated the definitive “life” of a social-media networking platform, but it is fair to guess that not unlike all other computer-related software, the pace of change will only accelerate.

Facebook remains the “king” of the social networking platform with more than 70 percent of Americans using it at least once a week.

But in stark contrast to Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, Facebook’s fastest growing user base is the over 50 crowd. If that demographic includes you, you may want to consider seeking out a member of the younger generation to start preparing for the next great social media app.

Guest Authored By Cerise Oberman, SUNY Distinguished Librarian Emeritus, retired as dean of Library & Information Services at SUNY Plattsburgh. She can be reached at cerise.oberman@plattsburgh.edu. Tim Hartnett is associate librarian at SUNY Plattsburgh, Reach him at tim.hartnett@plattsburgh.edu.





"No one has yet calculated the definitive “life” of a social-media networking platform, but it is fair to guess that not unlike all other computer-related software, the pace of change will only accelerate.

Facebook remains the “king” of the social networking platform with more than 70 percent of Americans using it at least once a week.."


    • Authored by:
      Fred Hansen Pied Piper of Social Media Marketing at GetMoreHere.com & CEO of Millennium 7 Publishing Co. in Loveland, Colorado. I work deep in the trenches of social media strategy, community management and trends.  My interests include; online business educator, social media marketing, new marketing technology, skiing, hunting, fishing and The Rolling Stones..-Not necessarily in that order ;)
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