As a marketing manager overseeing over 300 Facebook pages with an audience of 17-23 year olds, there is one thing that keeps me up at night: What if Facebook disappeared?
I’m sleeping easier after Social Media Week, where a poll done of AU and GWU students by the American University Social Media Club, and Peter Corbett of iStrategy Labs, both independently confirmed to this bleary-eyed community manager that Facebook isn’t going anywhere. In fact, most believe Zuckerberg and my generation are going to live a nice happy life growing old together.
So why should I still be worried? While my organization’s current student members and alumni, 17 to 30-something will stay by my side as we marry, produce little super Millennials and commit to real estate, the up-and-comers, current high school students to little iPad owners won’t be joining us. And I’m jealous of why.
Researchers in digital think it’s parents who are “scaring” kids away from Facebook. In fact, it’s just that kids today are so much better at social networking than GenY. Teenagers today don’t need a social “network”, but merely social media to interact with their personal networks and consume information.
1. Teens don’t need computers to IM
They can text, use messaging apps, Gchat, call, or tweet at their friends. They love video conversations, which is a more real way of interacting because you get facial and vocal expressions.
2. Mobile apps replace giant social networks
Apps like WhatsUpApp let kids create mini-social networks that are just their group of friends. GoogleGroups is better than Facebook Groups for organizing clubs because you get email on your phone instead of having to log-in.
3. GenZ is obsessed with music
They follow celebrities on Twitter, Youtube and gossip blogs, and even returned to MySpace for music. Youtube and Pandora are great for free music, but they will join Facebook just to be on Spotify. Best of all, Youtube lets them make and share their own music, and iTunes will let aspiring Demi Lovato’s sell their own mp3s.
4. All teens aspire to reality tv
Inundated with reality tv and able to access a web that supershoots nobodies to stardom, their role models range from the Biebs who broke out via Youtube videos to Kim Kardashian, known for doing nothing. Every iPhone’s video camera is a viral video or a musical moment waiting to happen. The paparazzi culture has made celebfans like “#lovatos” and wannabiebs, and Twitter lets them hear the real thoughts of these stars instantly, like they were friends in real life.
5. If there’s no pic, it didn’t happen
They love taking pictures of themselves and everything they see, whether with their mobile computers, on Instagram or with oldschool professional cameras. The web has become a scrapbook for all those #memories and a place to showcase their obvious talents.
6. “You have a voice” => I’m an expert
With all the web in photography and video, not only capturing their artistic sense, YOLO life moments and fashion savvy in Instagrams isn’t enough. They want to share it and show how awesome they are on Pinterest, Youtube, blogs, Tumblr and Twitter.
7. They all have phone and web cams
Finding a camera to shoot a school project used to be tough. With phone and web cams, teens can all make Youtube channels with “expert” advice, SNL digital skits and movies on everything from make-up to doing stupid stunts a la Ashton Kutcher style.
8. Info overload makes everyone ADD
There is so much to choose from, so much being created with everyone having web access and it’s so impossible to consume it all, that the sharper, the shorter, the more in-your-face wow your content is, the better. Buzzfeed and HuffPo have taken hold of this generation’s and our content consumption by being provocative, following celebrities, highlighting social posts like tweets from real people and sharing photos that shock us.