Over a month ago, Marketingfacts (a Dutch marketing blog) published a research on the social media use of youngsters. The results of this research show that Facebook and Youtube are the main players on the area of social media among youngsters. Twitter is losing popularity and Instagram and SnapChat are growing quickly. Moments later, a discussion flared up on Twitter about the visual platforms and youngsters not using Twitter anymore. I, being a youngster, could draw conclusions very quickly, but these weren’t made clear in the article and the discussions on Twitter. I engaged in conversations with the youngsters and found some interesting answers.
Youngsters on social media: Images are hot, text is not
Youngsters stop using Twitter. The reasons given are ‘’It takes too much time’’ and ‘’Twitter doesn’t offer me relaxation’’. Youngsters view Twitter as a text platform. Traditionally, it is a platform on which you can share something using a maximum of 140 characters. You can also share images on Twitter. For the past couple of months these are automatically visible in the stream. Recently, Twitter added an editing option with filters, much like the filters used on Instagram. But this won’t help Twitter, Twitter remains a text platform and many, especially youngsters see it as a business platform. They gave responses such as: ‘’Text started to bore me and then Instagram and Snapchat appeared, based on images. When I look around in my own circle of friends, almost no-one is active on Twitter anymore. Twitter is mostly filled with content shared from a business perspective. Youngsters’ answers also show this. ‘’As it turns out, I only used Twitter for my education and to keep track of the news.’’ Youngsters state that they find interaction very important and that they do not find that much on Twitter. ‘’There is much more interaction on Facebook and Instagram, these platforms invite you to interact. I couldn’t like anything or see what other’s liked on Twitter.’’ The constant urge youngsters feel for new brands and their immediate family also play a part in the use of Twitter and Facebook among youngsters. ‘’Twitter was fun because it was new. When my dad discovered Twitter I started looking for new things.’’ This is happening with Facebook now. Instagram and Snapchat are now relatively new, but I think the use of these services will decrease and other services will come up again.
Images are hot
For months now, it is said that video, images and info graphics are the future. This partially explains the rise of services such as Instagram and Snapchat. Images are visually more attractive than text. The second point is: ease. Images can be easily uploaded and why should you do it the hard way? Through the applications Instagram and Snapchat you know what your friends, acquaintances and family are doing in a matter of seconds. On the Twitter application you are busy reading the content and reactions of my interview showing that text bores youngsters. ‘’Text started to bore me, that’s when Instagram and Snapchat appeared, based on images.”
Instagram and Snapchat perfectly anticipate with platforms that are about images. On Instagram you publish an image or video that appears in the timeline of your followers. This image or video can be edited with different filters and can then be published just the way you like it. On Snapchat you share your activities or interests by sharing an image or video with the people you have selected. You send an image or video with a maximum of 32 characters. The receiver can look at this only once for a maximum time of 10 seconds. Or you publish your image or video to your story, within your story the images will stay available for 24 hours. Youngsters expect that Instagram is more of a keeper than Snapchat. ‘’I expect that Snapchat is a hype, just like Twitter was, it is fun because it is new. However, I do expect that Instagram is here to stay.
There is one clear limitation: not nearly all information can be conveyed properly through an image. A short news item, like a message on Twitter is fairly easy to convert to an image. But the content from, for example, Marketingfacts is much harder to convert to an image. When you put it like that, for a lot of information, using an image is not a solution.
Instagram and Snapchat, both a combination of image and ease. Within a few seconds you are informed about the activities and interests of your friends and family. Slowly but surely, text will disappear, blogs aren’t visual and fast enough. Images are attractive, images are easier, and images are the future, not just for youngsters but definitely also for adults.