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.

See also: What the class of 2017 thinks about social media

This year, I asked them to rate 14 different social networks from 5 (love it) to 1 (hate it).

Here are the results:

NetworkAvg. ratingLove it (5)Hate it (1)
YouTube4.51500
Instagram4.25442
Snapchat4.16463
Pinterest3.84406
Twitter3.73267
Vine3.67160
Facebook3.3841
tumblr3.24188
Google+2.7989
LinkedIn2.6208
foursquare/Swarm2.47015
WhatsApp2.47216
Slingshot2.38017
Myspace1.74141

 
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.

Network20132014Change
Youtube4.464.510.05
Snapchat4.044.160.12
Instagram3.994.250.26
Twitter3.933.73-0.2
Vine3.813.67-0.14
Facebook3.713.38-0.33
Pinterest3.653.840.19
Tumblr3.443.24-0.2
Google+2.852.79-0.06
LinkedIn2.712.62-0.09
Foursquare2.592.47-0.12
Myspace1.821.74-0.08
WhatsAppN/A2.47
SlingshotN/A2.38

 

class-of-2018-social-networks

 

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:

NetworkResponses
Twitter25
Snapchat16
Facebook13
Instagram12
Pinterest6
YouTube5
Tumblr3

 

I asked them which network they create the most content on:

NetworkResponses
Instagram24
Twitter24
Snapchat18
Facebook9
Pinterest2
Youtube1
tumblr1

 
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.

NetworkUsed in last month
Facebook81
Youtube75
Snapchat72
Instagram65
Twitter62
Pinterest46
Vine28
Tumblr27
Google+17
LinkedIn6
WhatsApp3
Foursquare0
Myspace0
Slingshot0

 

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