SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Remember all those headlines suggesting the younger crowd was abandoning Facebook? New research says that may not be the case. In fact, a survey coming out Tuesday suggests just the opposite.
Toby Miller, a former UC Riverside Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, now studies social media trends in London, but specializes in pop culture and TV.
In 2013 Facebook’s CFO admitted that teens were visiting the site less often. That claim was backed up by Pew Research. So, how do we know that these latest claims aren’t a fluke?
“The new study seems to be saying, that older teens (16, 17 and 18) are moving away a bit from Facebook, but when you’re entering adolescence (12 and 13) it’s a destination you need to visit. You need to get an address. You need to become part of the group,” Miller said.
One of the issues about young people, according to Miller, is the formation of taste and the way they get interested in products. “Facebook is probably hoping for…that it becomes a parkable destination.”
Miller opined that the social media site is increasingly a place where everybody has to visit and has to have an address at. He said that other sites have come and gone, but Facebook is looking more like a replacement for email or the post office.
“In general, it’s solid. It’s definitely there and it’s still a marker of coming into adulthood,” Miller said.
Miller added that Facebook’s apps on smartphones are crucial, because as the price of the technology comes down, teens are more likely to use them. “The web in a sense is yesterday’s story. Today’s story and tomorrow’s story is apps.”
Noting that Facebook already owns Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app, he said other apps messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp growing in popularity among youth. He said these types of apps don’t really replace Facebook, but rather act as an adjunct.