Gema is an 18-year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.
Facebook. Myspace. Hi5. Twitter. The list goes on. All over the country and all over the planet, teens are finding new ways to communicate with each other. They have more accounts than they’ll ever have bank statements and they have more people titled as “friends” online than they’ll ever meet face to face. But is it tiring?
In my opinion, yes. As a teen, I feel that managing Facebook and Myspace is part of a civil obligation. Much how you have to say hello to the old lady in a funny hat after church every Sunday, you have to sign into these accounts to see if anyone’s left you a similar obligatory greeting so you can send back the obligatory reply. It’s the new “hello, please, thank you and you’re welcome,” you can never avoid without seeming rude. Instead of having to keep up pretenses at social events like your grandmother did in the 1950’s, you have to keep up pretenses through your default pictures and status messages.
So I was exceptionally surprised when I began researching the topic. While I’m growing tired of the daily duty of social networks, I found that: Facebook has 200 million active users and half of those log in every single day; the average Myspace user spends 266 minutes on the site a month; and Twitter’s growth rate is 752%. The category that is “social networking” has not slowed down, there has only been a rearrangement of which network is more popular. Sometimes Myspace is number one, sometimes Facebook, or perhaps even Blogger. For example, Livejournal has been online for a decade but currently only has 1.9 million active users, which pale in comparison to Facebook’s 200 million.
However, there are some things that do not convince me.. Statistics are merely numbers. For example, if 80% of suitcases found at plane crashing sites are black, it does not mean that black suitcases cause plane crashes. With that said, the official Facebook statistics and general social network statistics do not explain if TEENS are using the networks more or if they’re getting tired of it, all they show are general growing numbers. While half of Facebook users log in on a daily basis, it’s important to realize that their fastest growing demographic are users of 35 years of age and older. On the flip side, Twitter supposedly “attracts a more educated…young adult audience.” Only 11% are adults. Although 89% may be young adults, Twitter has not surpassed (at least not this month, at least) the ever growing number of Facebook. So exactly how much is 89%?
Naturally, the subject came up when I was with a group of friends. Out of eight, only two considered themselves obsessed with social networks- they remain true to their ritual of daily updates. The rest, however, find It tiring. Plenty of explanations were offered:
JUST A PHASE:
There was a time when social networks were cool. Being able to share ideas and meet people with similar ideas was exciting. Now that you can do it anywhere, it doesn’t feel as necessary anymore.
Someone brought up that they didn’t want to “meet” anyone new online. All they wanted to do was keep in touch with old friends. While social networks can provide this, teens can easily keep in touch the old-school way: by talking and texting through the phone.
Saving me from feeling like an outcast, someone in the group also felt like I did: social networks are a chore. It’s squeezed between doing dishes and working on a research paper. Now that everyone and their mother have an account at least in one social network, it feels expected.. Much like cleaning your room and taking out the trash, doing what’s “expected” of you brings the feeling of always being controlled rather than being in control.
Point blank- they’re old. Times are changing, we want something new.