By Gary Schirr
I start the semester in my social media marketing classes with a survey of social media use and their perceived issues. My classes comprise juniors and seniors majoring in marketing, communications, design, and management. They are in a narrow age range and had the interest to sign up for a social media marketing class, but otherwise seem a fairly diverse group of college students. This table sums up the usage of social media reported by the students:
Spring 2019 Social Media Marketing Usage Summary
Instagram and Snapchat have been tops for a while; Snapchat may have lost some momentum based on the past two surveys. Probably the most interesting finding – and one that has been consistent through six years of surveys is that these college students don’t value the number 1 social media site, Facebook, as much as you might expect. Four social media sites rate ahead of Facebook as ones that would be most missed. Facebook is tied for third with Twitter for sites checked daily.
When I posted similar results 6 years ago I created a bit of a stir among the readership – was the future of FB bleak? I suggested that the FB audience would not only age, but might become primarily Facebook For the Dead. I could see real value in a permanent digital site to host pictures, videos, and memories of those who had passed away.
A less fanciful observer, Mark Schaefer suggested that they were merely avoiding their parents and older siblings on Facebook and would join them on the site once THEY wanted to brag about their jobs, trips, pets, and children.
Why NOT Facebook?
When I asked the classes this year “why not Facebook?” the number one response was that their parents AND grandparents were on it. The primary reasons for not being on Facebook cited most often were:
- Parents AND grandparents are on FB,
- Too many nasty and political comments and conversations on the site,
- Privacy and ethical issues,
- FB is not as Mobile-friendly as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and
- People are too windy on FB.
Checked in past two weeks
As you might guess Facebook fared much better on a survey question on sites visited in the last two weeks – you have to check in with Mom and Grandpa occasionally.
Facebook is still number 4 but is competitive – they have FB they just don’t use it or like it as well as the other sites.
Other vote-getters include WhatsApp, Quora, Dating sites, TikToc, Soundcloud, GroupMe..
Major Concerns about Social Media
Finally, the new students were asked to name their biggest concern about social media. I tried to bundle their concerns into clear categories. (I left off mutltiple single concerns for brevity.)
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