How many people have a Facebook account? One hundred million? A billion? Try 1.9 billion! That's almost 30% of the world's population sharing their lives online.
However, if you ask many teenagers, they'll tell you that they don't use Facebook much. That's because a new generation of social networking apps has arisen for a new generation of online users. And while Facebook is still the king of the Internet, young people increasingly connect through platforms like Instagram and Snapchat instead.
There are a couple of reasons for this shift. First, Instagram and Snapchat are generally accessed through mobile apps. Anyone sitting in a restaurant can see that most people nowadays like connecting online through their phones rather than while sitting at computers.
This is especially true for teens, so the mobility of these apps makes them much more attractive to the young than a web-based site.
Moreover, sites like Facebook and Google+ mainly allow users to share stories about their lives. However, newer social media apps are much more focused on simply sharing images and videos. This appeals to younger users, who deal much more in visuals than in written information. Instagram, for example, doesn't even have
a wall for people to post status updates on. Snapchat has become popular for its cute and often entertaining photo filters.
Finally, there is the element of secrecy. As Facebook has become ever common for everyone, many teens see it as their parents' social media. A big advantage of Snapchat is its privacy, and the ability to share photos and connect with friends without older relatives' knowledge. "Snaps" can be shared with a select group of people before being automatically deleted forever. This gives teens their own online space, away from the adult world.
Of course, social media is still a relatively new phenomenon. As technology rapidly changes, there will always be new ways for people to stay in touch and share their lives.