Teens' Favorite Social Network: Texting

Texting is far and away the most popular form of social media among teenagers, according to a survey of 7,000 graduating high school seniors conducted by Niche, a Web site that provides quality ratings and other information about schools (while some might quibble that texting isn’t strictly a social medium, I would argue that between group texting, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and other permutations, the lines are so blurred it might as well be). 

Overall 87% of high school seniors said they texted every day, Niche found, considerably ahead of Facebook, with 61% of respondents reporting daily use of the latter. YouTube took third place, with 55% of respondents reporting daily usage, followed by Instagram at 51%, Snapchat at 46%, Pandora at 37%, and Twitter, at 35%. Regular old phone calls (remember those?) were in eighth place at 34%.

Google+ was quite a bit further down the totem pole, with 23% reporting daily usage, followed by Pinterest and Vine at 16%, and Tumblr at 15%. Just 1% of teens said they use LinkedIn every day (and 92% don’t use LinkedIn at all). 

These results show Facebook is still in strong position, at least among older teenagers, but other surveys suggest younger teens may be leaving social networks in favor of social apps. 

In April Project Tomorrow, a non-profit organization focused on digital technology for education, released the results of its 2013 survey of 325,279 K-12 students across the U.S., which found that just 30% of middle school students and 39% of high school students said they are maintaining a profile on a social networking site. That’s a decrease of approximately 40% since 2009. The drop in social network use has been accompanied by a rise in social apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine, which are now used by 44% of students in grades 6-12.

Also in April Piper Jaffray released the results of a poll of 7,500 teenagers, which found that 30% of teens ranked Instagram their most important social platform, ahead of Twitter at 27% and Facebook at 23%. Those were big changes from the results of a survey conducted a year before, when 33% of teen respondents chose Facebook as their most important social network, compared to 30% for Twitter and just 17% for Instagram.

In January, iStrategyLabs, drawing on data from Facebook’s social advertising platform, found that the number of Americans ages 13-17 using Facebook declined 25.3% from 13.1 million in January 2011 to 9.8 million in January 2014, while the number of users ages 18-24 declined 7.5% from 45.4 million to 42 million over the same period.

And a recent survey by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz, Inc. found that roughly one in three (30%) Facebook users believe they will be using the service less within the next five years. Within this group, 40% say they use Twitter, while Instagram is also growing fast, especially among millennials.

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