YouTube. Snapchat. Instagram.

For the sixth year in a row those three social networks finished atop my survey of first-year students in the Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I gave the survey on the Friday of the first week of classes – the end of their first week as college students.

A total of 73 students took the survey, ranging in age from 17 to 19.

The survey has students rate social networking sites from 1 (hate it) to 5 (love it). This is the sixth year I’ve done the survey. YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram have finished as the top three all six years. For the past five years, they have clearly been higher than any other networks.

Read about past years’ results here: 2013201420152016, 2017

Here are some key takeaways from this year’s survey and follow-up discussions:

  • Instagram and Snapchat continue to lead the way. YouTube scored the highest, but students still say they are not using it as a “social” network.
  • After Snapchat and Instagram, the third most popular place for them to spend time is on Twitter.
  • The second tier of favorite networks includes Twitter, GroupMe and Pinterest.
  • VSCO remains a social network on the rise.
  • They don’t use Instagram Stories or IGTV.
  • About half have a “finsta” account (second Instagram that is only for close friends to follow).
  • Shared Instagram accounts is a trend – accounts they share with a roommate or friends. The accounts might be about a pet or on some sort of theme.

How the class of 2021 rated social networks

I asked students to rate 16 social networks from 1 (hate it) to 5 (love it). Here are the results:

Network2017 ratingLove itHate it
YouTube4.49480
Snapchat4.47500
Instagram4.36430
Twitter3.73262
Groupme3.7152
Pinterest3.63202
Facebook3.0884
Messenger3.04710
LinkedIn2.9744
Reddit2.9246
Houseparty2.8959
tumblr2.8699
Twitch2.7838
IGTV2.6728
Whatsapp2.6213
Tinder2.53317

 

About the students

A total of 73 first-year students took the survey (last year there were 71).

They all own a smartphone (66 own an iPhone, 6 an Android and one said they own an “other” smartphone).

Twenty of them own a tablet (that’s a lower percentage than last year’s survey).

When asked on what device they spend the most time (smartphone, tablet or computer), 64 said smartphone, nine said computer and 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 4.15. This was down from a score of 4.18 last year. Thirty-two said they love it and no one said they hate it.

I asked them to rate how they feel about new technology in general, and the average score was 4.23. This is down from 4.35 last year. Twenty-seven said they love new technology and no one said they hate it.

Year-by-year results

Network201320142015201620172018
Youtube4.464.514.284.544.564.49
Snapchat4.044.164.374.484.544.47
Instagram3.994.254.334.524.324.36
Twitter3.933.733.553.793.773.73
GroupMeN/AN/AN/AN/A3.733.7
Pinterest3.653.843.723.883.453.63
Facebook3.713.383.183.573.373.08
FB MessengerN/AN/A3.383.523.623.04
LinkedIn2.712.622.582.952.682.97
RedditN/AN/AN/A2.912.762.92
HousepartyN/AN/AN/AN/A2.72.89
tumblr3.443.243.143.233.042.86
TwitchN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A2.78
IGTVN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A2.67
WhatsAppN/A2.472.612.712.652.6
TinderN/AN/A2.132.52.372.53
Vine3.813.673.373.52N/AN/A
PeriscopeN/AN/A2.392.89N/AN/A
YikYakN/AN/A2.752.52N/AN/A
Google+2.852.792.532.5N/AN/A
foursquare2.592.472.432.45N/AN/A
kikN/AN/AN/A2.32N/AN/A
Myspace1.821.741.792.14N/AN/A