The Carrot Blog

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed posted an article with the dramatic headline "Teens Abandoning Social Networks, Study Says." The digital marketing equivalent to shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, the study sparked a slew of other articles, from those who just hinted that this might be a warning shot to others who flat us told us to panic.

Before we all clear out weekends to work on our 4chan influence strategy, let's take a closer look at the survey itself. The origin of the headline came from a study conducted by the investment bank Piper Jaffray that was focused on general teen spending habits, dedicating just 3 questions to social media. This is not a behavior study, it's a sentiment study. Even as sentiment goes, the survey doesn't give us reason to panic: about 50% of teens surveyed said that social media impacts purchasing.

More importantly, the survey makes the distinction that while Facebook may have lost traction as the important social media site for teens, it still remains their most important social network. The semantics here are important, mainly because it offers a glaring omission of mobile and its relationship to how many people - teens especially - are using social media.

Lastly, much was made about the write-in votes for networks like SnapChat, Vine, 4chan and Kik. As teens are the earliest of early adopters, it's no surprise that they've included the newest of the new in networks that are important to them. After all, their mom isn't on Vine yet. But this isn't the first panic over the exodus of teens from Facebook, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Until we have a behavior study that shows actual declines in usage across all platforms, I wouldn't worry too much. Besides, if there's one thing teenagers hate, it's lame adults like us telling them what they like and dislike.