With over a billion users worldwide Facebook may be the biggest social network site in the world, but the global giant could be losing the majority of it’s younger users.
It has always been the younger generation’s prerogative to be at the forefront of the latest music, fashion and fads, and today’s millennial generation are also bang up to date with online Social Media trends.
When it comes to Facebook, they’re realising that there’s nothing trendy or cool about having every single member of your family commenting on your latest ‘selfie’ or status. The problem Facebook is facing (nice right?) is that it’s now in a ‘Late Majority’ stage - meaning individuals who were once skeptical about the idea now have an account. The number of older members signing up has increased dramatically. How many of your Uncle’s, Dad’s and even Grandad's have sent you a friend request over the last few months? You can try to ignore the friend request’s as many times as you like but the constant “why won’t you accept my friend request?” over Sunday dinner will get to you and eventually. You will have to give in, and when you do, this once sacred bubble of questionable photos, drunken statuses and family bashing has been burst. You now have to filter you broadcasts.
The younger generation are turning to the likes of Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr and Twitter where you can share ‘who you really are’ with the world. There are no worries about sharing something that might be inappropriate for a family member to see, you can develop your interests and style without being judged by those who see you every day. You can share your thoughts in 140 characters on Twitter, upload as many selfies as you like on Instagram and reblog that slightly unseemly image on Tumblr.
We Heart It is the latest network to join the party and having quietly assembled over 20 Million users, it is fast becoming key player in the social space.
Different to sites like Facebook, who monitor and broadcast many details of your life, We Heart It is a blank canvas for your thoughts. It’s an image-based social work similar to Pinterest, but aimed at a younger demographic. You can ‘heart’ an image which is automatically saved to your canvas, much like Pinning and Repinning. However, the difference between Pinterest and We Heart It is that, although Pinterest is aimed at a relatively young audience, We Heart It is truly dominating the 16-24 market. So far the website has secured $8 million in funding and has 25 million users, 80% of which are female. Taking this rather large percentage, and coupling it with the pink ‘girly’ aesthetics of the website, you can’t help but question whether We Heart It is running the risk of alienating itself outside of this female market. This may not be the best situation for such a new network, but the latest research and number crunching show no signs of that being the case. For now.
Many of the images posted are positive and inspirational, with a text overlay with the current top hits being One Direction, Starbucks, Cupcakes and Quotes. Pinterest content tends to be made up of more DIY craft ideas, weddings and recipe type posts, which again would perhaps appeal to a slightly older demographic. Another difference to many social networks is the lack of ability for users to leave comments, although this is something that we may see introduced in the coming months.
For Generation Y then, We Heart It appears to be a safer place to express their feelings without judgment, ridicule or mum seeing. This encourages a positive atmosphere which, let’s face it, is something teens need throughout their difficult angst teenage years.
The reason that We Heart It seems to be working is because of it’s younger, ‘arty’ (not hipster) feel. But most importantly it’s an un-touched platform that parents haven’t discovered. Yet.