Teens: Facebook is just, like, too much drama

In a new Pew Report on teens and their social-networking habits, Twitter appears to be offering a resurgence, while Facebook may be losing impact. Because Facebook is just, well, too much.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When your hormones are harassing you to within an eyebrow-width of your sanity, all you want is a simple life.

You want to be able to curl up with the kind of social network that understands you and doesn't give you headaches.

That kind of social network is, increasingly, not Facebook.

At least this is what teens seem to have told the Pew Research Center during its latest study .

Indeed, the teens surveyed were disturbed by the increased presence of adults and the increased tendency of other teens to angst-ridden self-expression on Mark Zuckerberg's site.

There is, as one teen respondent put it, "too much drama."

I thought angst-ridden self-expression was the exclusive preserve of teens (and writers). How odd that many teens seem to be turning against themselves.

Where do they turn? Twitter is enjoying a teen resurgence. More than double the teens surveyed now tweet.

How odd that they think there are fewer adults there. Could it be because the general level of tweeted debate is around 7th grade? Or could it be merely that these kids' parents haven't yet realized that their kids are on Twitter?

Only 25 percent of these kids say that they kept their tweets private. Still, they find Twitter a simpler environment in which to function socially.

Could it be, though, that these kids (94 percent of whom are still on Facebook too) post anodyne material to Facebook simply to fool the olds into believing that they know everything that's happening with their children -- while the real, social stuff actually happens on Twitter?

Though kids are sharing more, they're also becoming a little more circumspect about whom they are sharing with. Many have even learned how to delete certain things.

One nuanced perspective on the drifting patterns of teens and social media was offered by writer (and parent of teens) Cliff Watson.

He believes that kids don't need Facebook because "they literally don't need Facebook."

He believes that for adults, Facebook is the class reunion. It's where you keep up with what your friends are doing.

"You know what kids call that? School," he says.

He continues: "For kids who still go to school, Facebook is boring. If one of their friends does something amazing or amazingly dumb, they'll find out within five minutes. If they're not friends with that person, it will take 15 minutes."

Yes, yes. But how do they find out?

"Mobile. And not just texting. In fact, pure cellular texting is only part of the equation. Texting is being supplemented by the products that are making Facebook not just boring, but obsolete: apps."

Might this have been one tiny reason why Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook Home?

Watson is convinced that Twitter has a very simple representation for teens.

After first trying Twitter and dismissing it, teens returned because "some enterprising high school student turned to her friends and said: 'You know what? We could use Twitter like one big group SMS. It's like texting. But to everybody.'"

In the end, these kids are making social networking truly social. It isn't about posting your latest outfit or beer pong picture and asking for validation. It isn't about seeing who Snodgrass is dating or what's he smoking.

It's a genuine conversation. Dialogue. Immediate dialogue. Backward and forward.

They would text (and do), but mom and dad got wise to that. They check their texts.

If there's one thing that kids need to believe, it's that they're wiser than mom and dad.

So now it's Twitter, Kik, Instagram, and Snapchat.

But, don't worry, mom and dad. You'll soon catch up. But that'll be the time that kids start feeling it's, like, all drama again.

So that'll be the time the kids will start fooling you again.

 

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