Guest post by Mariej Fincher
Social media is now a central part of our lives. More interestingly, there is a significant percentage of teenagers that have not known a world without it. Teenagers of today have been exposed to social media from a younger age than any other demographic and weren’t born early enough to remember much of the world before social media and smartphones.
In this article, we’d like to look into some of the remarkable trends driven by teenage users, or dedicated to teenagers in general, and what this tells us about this fast-changing demographic.
Teenagers love their challenges
Throughout the last few years, teenagers have proven how passionate they are about challenging each other to do brave, often quite bizarre and dangerous things. These challenges usually take over social media and constitute entire trends.
There is an entire spectrum of challenges that have had their great share of popularity and controversy on the web, and Internet history is full of challenges that were initially triggered by teens, which have eventually moved onto the adult demographic of social platforms.
A few such examples of challenges taking over social media would be #saltandicechallenge, the #cinnamonchallenge, and the #ducttapechallenge.
What ended up being among the more openly dangerous of them were, of course, the #tidepodchallenge and the #thefirechallenge.
However, not all challenges are plainly hazardous. On the contrary, most of them are actually really entertaining, and many have a noble pretext to them.
The #themannequinchallenge was super popular back in 2016. It would typically feature a group of participants standing still in different positions, while another person films it.
One of the most popular challenges that have taken over the web back in 2014 was the #icebucketchallenge. The point of the challenge is that participants are dumping buckets full of ice over themselves. The challenge was intended to support people suffering from ALS. While the challenge was not initiated by teenagers, they most certainly constituted its driving force.
Advices for teens
A more teenager-oriented hashtag had become very popular in 2018. #5wordadviceforteens is an adults’ attempt to communicate the wisdom they’ve acquired throughout their life that would be helpful to the teenagers using Twitter. The advice is really varied, ranging from more inspirational and educational to sarcastic and amusing, all addressed to young people that are going through a rough time in their lives as an adolescent.
Each advice has to be written in five words only.
Although many people have been using the hashtag to point some ironic elements of their own lives and personal experiences, the trending hashtag does deliver a significant amount of actually practical and useful information that youngsters will most certainly find useful while growing up.
There is a rise in teens posting photos of themselves
One of the most interesting teen social media trends is the continuously rising number of users posting photos of themselves and friends. This is something of a return to the early days of social media when Facebook was a place to go and hang out with your friends online.
Since those early days in 2004, social media changed a lot, going through a lot of different phases:from the world’s largest news source, to an advertising platform and a vital tool for businesses and public figures. The continued increase in the youngest users posting social photos shows that social media is set to retain the social element which is at the core of its identity for some time to come.
The battle for chicken nuggets
Back in April 2017, a teenager called Carter Wilkerson has set off on a journey that would make Twitter history. The 16-year-old teen, living in Nevada, USA, has sent a tweet to the official Wendy’s page asking how many retweets he’d need to amass, in order to get an entire year’s supply of chicken nuggets.
Wendy’s ended up providing the Carter with a very precise, yet almost unrealistic answer of “18 million.” This has marked the beginning of the young man’s path to social media glory.
When the fast-food chain has realized that Carter’s post started trending throughout the social media platform, it decided to capitalize on it but didn’t hesitate to give back. Wendy’s stated that they would provide Carter with the nuggets that he coveted so much, along with donating $100.000 to the DTFA — Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
The hashtag #nuggsforcarter has become one of the essential examples of how teenagers can take over the Internet. The hashtag and the project, in general, have been awarded multiple prizes, such as Best Influencer Marketing Campaign at the PR Week Global.
“The beauty of this project is in the fact that it acts as a case study how a simple person can gather immense social media traction and push their message, with greater efficiency than many professional advertising agencies would ever be able to pull off.” — says Tom Wright, Marketer at Trust My Paper.
Furthermore, it seems that Twitter use among teens has grown considerably since 2018. It is interesting however to see that Twitter has been adopted by more than a quarter of teens who regularly use social media. It may not be the fastest growing sector for teenagers, but it’s clear that the appeal of Twitter is increasing from the point of view of the younger generation.
Putting hashtags to work
There are two central strategies for using hashtag trends to increase your business’s traffic and visibility. To some extent, the options are binary:
- Wait for a niche hashtag to become popular, which can be traced to your industry or field of activity.
- Create conceptual connections with hashtags that aren’t in a direct relationship with your niche.
The former strategy is, of course, more time-consuming, but will provide a business with greater results, since there is a distinct connection between the tow. But it needs to be mentioned that this is quite a rare occurrence.
The second strategy, however, is much more demanding from a creative viewpoint. In case you decide to try integrating currently popular hashtags into your social media strategy, your main goal is to try and connect trending topics to your field of activity. A great example is #earthday, a hashtag-based movement all organizations and individuals can partake in, in order to drive some extra traffic.
Teenage social media use is an ever-evolving topic and one that is set to continue changing at pace over the coming years. As teens become more digitally and technically-savvy, they can better and easier take advantage of the infrastructure of social media platforms. This will allow bridging communication between generations like #5wordadviceforteens has.
We’re hoping that this will allow them to erase a considerable amount of misunderstandings between their generation and their parents.