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What are the most popular social networks for teens? The answer might surprise you

Snapchat was the most popular social network for teens across the country "by a landslide," according to a survey by Business Insider.
Snapchat was the most popular social network for teens across the country "by a landslide," according to a survey by Business Insider. Adam Przezdziek/Flickr

By J.R. Williams
jrw@familysignal.com

Facebook Messenger is in, but Facebook itself is out.

That’s one conclusion of a survey of 60 American teenagers from across the U.S. covering apps, media, celebrities — everything they “think is cool,” according to Business Insider.

“Facebook is good for group events and things, but it’s definitely not my favorite app,” one 15-year-old said in the survey. But, Business Insider said this week, 80 percent of the teens said they use the Facebook Messenger app to talk to friends. And when it comes to Facebook, teens know they’re writing to specific audiences.

“I use Facebook, but I feel like I can’t be myself on it because my parents and my friends’ parents are my Facebook friends,” one 16-year-old said.

The most popular social network? Snapchat, the messaging and video calling app that has rocketed in popularity. Teens said it works for them “because it’s pretty much just texting, but with pictures of my beautiful face,” one 16-year-old said in the survey.

Users can send photos or video that disappear after an interval set by the user, and a “Discover” feature curates video from CNN, Vice Media and other outlets. Common Sense Media reports that while Snapchat has earned a “reputation” as a sexting app, many teens use it harmlessly. The group rated it three out of five stars for teens 16 and older.

“I also like being able to make stories for all of my friends to see, and I also enjoy seeing stories of my friends on it and see what they’re up to,” a 17-year-old said of the app.

Rounding out the other most popular apps were Spotify, Instagram and Twitter. Interestingly, virtually every teen surveyed said they didn’t know what a “finsta” or “finstagram” account was — short for “fake Instagram” accounts created to share content among a tighter circle of friends. Finstagrams achieved some publicity late last year in a New York Times piece covering the phenomenon.

Other apps that made the teens’ list:

After School — A place for teens to post anonymous comments about life at their high school. The app uses Facebook to verify they’re a student at their specific school. “People judge you hardcore about every post you make on Facebook, but on After School, everyone’s just entirely open to what you have to say, and they’ll just ask you questions about it,” a girl says on the app’s website, which collects videos from users.

Musical.ly — Users create and share their own music videos.

Color Therapy — A free coloring book app.

Wishbone — Users ask others to compare two things and pick their favorite.

Neko Atsume — A viral game where users take care of cats. In a post on the game, the technology and culture site The Verge might have said it best: “The stakes couldn’t possibly be lower.”

Color Switch — Another game where the object is to move a ball through color-coded obstacles.

Check out the full Business Insider report here.


J.R. Williams
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