Teens Say Instagram Is Most Important Social Network

When people start talking about social media trends, there is a tendency to oscillate between euphoria and doom. All the attempts to decode teen attitudes toward Facebook are a perfect example: Facebook is either the most popular social platform by far (making teens not much different from older adults) or it is universally reviled as an uncool place for uncool old people.

Needless to say, the truth probably lies somewhere between these very dramatic, headline-worthy exaggerations. Many industry watchers are predicting that Facebook will become (or has already become) a sort of social media utility, used almost universally by teens for an array of basic social media tasks -- but without the cachet or niche utility of photo-sharing sites, messaging, anonymous messaging, and so on. 

That seems to be one conclusion of the latest survey of social media usage among teens from Piper Jaffray, covering changes from the period between spring 2014 and spring 2015.

According to the consultancy, the proportion of teens who identified Facebook as their “most important” social network fell from 23% in the first quarter of 2014 to 14% in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the proportion who preferred Twitter slipped from 27% to 24%, and Tumblr fell from 5% to 4%.

The winners in the Piper Jaffray survey included Instagram -- named as the most important social network by 32% of teens this year, up from 30% last year. But the biggest winner was Snapchat, which came out of nowhere (or at least no data) in 2014 to become the top choice for 13% of teens. 

Snapchat has been seeking to expand its reach and utility by offering new services, most notably with the rollout of Snapcash, a person-to-person payment platform targeting millennials.

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