3 Things I Learned About Social Media By Talking to My Teen Brother

social media and teen brother

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed the other day when I came across a tweet from my teen brother.

My phone is broken again. If you need to reach me you can DM me, or if you’re secretly an old person you can FB message me.

Now, I should preface that I am 25 years old — an age that, until recently, I didn’t perceive as old. But after reading that tweet, I felt totally out of touch. It isn’t even that I swear by Facebook Messenger, but rather that I had no idea it was considered passé. And if I missed out on this simple fact, what else was I overlooking? I had to find out.

So the next time I saw my brother, I grilled him with questions. How are teens using social media? Here are a few things I found out:

1. DM is Where it All Goes Down

Well, that’s not entirely true. Most teens are still texting as their main means of communication with their friends, but rather than using messaging apps similar to our generation's AIM (Facebook Messenger, GChat, etc) most teens message people directly on Twitter. A DM, or direct message, is where you take a twitter conversation private.

2. Instagram Stories are Lame

While tons of marketers and brands have jumped on Instagram’s newest roll-out, Stories, teens are a bit more weary. Apparently the Snapchat generation is all about loyalty, because many teens are boycotting Instagram Stories in the name of Snapchat. So if your market is comprised of teens, I’d wait just a little longer before dipping your toes into Instagram Stories.

3. Everyone has a "Finstagram"

Most teens take their Instagram channels very seriously. They use them as a mood board, a portfolio, a representation of how they want the world to see them. Obviously this is not the place for silly or awkward photos. So, as a work around, many teens have created secondary Instagram accounts, which they call "Finstagrams" or "Finstas." They usually have anonymous aliases, and only one’s closest group of friends are invited to follow this private account. Here the teen can run wild, posting whatever kind of ridiculous content they want (even the kind they don’t want Mom to see). 

The biggest takeaway from all of this (besides the fact that I’m old now) is that teens will always be one step ahead of social media marketers, because it is marketers who they are avoiding (well, and their parents, of course). But if you want to get an inside scoop about what the next big secret is, you could always just ask a teen yourself.

What do you think about these insights on how teens use social media? Share your thoughts with the Likeable Media team below.