I teach a class to first-year students each fall at Drake University, and I use the first class of the semester to talk to them about their social media usage. They are all journalism, public relations or advertising majors, so they all should have a strong interest in the way we communicate.
For the past two years, I’ve also given these students a survey to see what they think about various social media platforms. This year’s results are below.
Some key takeaways:
- They love social media in general, and they love new technology. In fact, none of them said they “hate” either of those things.
- Facebook’s popularity is clearly on the decline, but more of them said they used Facebook in the past month than any other social network. Perhaps it’s a necessary evil?
- They create the most content on Instagram (tied with Twitter), but they don’t spend nearly the most time there. That may be part of the appeal of Instagram – it’s simple and fast.
- There are three networds clearly leading the way – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. But they don’t really consider YouTube a social network – just a place they watch videos.
This year, I asked them to rate 14 different social networks from 5 (love it) to 1 (hate it).
Here are the results:
|Network||Avg. rating||Love it (5)||Hate it (1)|
Here’s how those numbers compare to 2013. You can see that four apps grew in popularity (Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Youtube). The biggest drop came from Facebook.
About the 2014 students
A total of 85 first-year students took the survey. Some more info about them:
82 of them have a smartphone (68 iPhone and 14 Android).
30 of them own a tablet.
When asked on what device they spend the most time, 70 said smartphone and 15 said computer. None said tablet.
I asked them to rate how they feel about social media in general (1=hate and 5=love), and the average score was 4.16. Twenty-eight of them said they love it and none of them said they hate it.
I asked them to rate how they feel about new technology in general, and the average score was 4.35. Forty-two said they love it, and none of them said they hate it.
I asked them which network they spend the most time on:
I asked them which network they create the most content on:
Finally, I asked them which networks they have used in the past month.
As much as they don’t love Facebook, they are still using it more than the rest.
|Network||Used in last month|