Are teens fleeing Facebook for greener social media pastures

Teen blogger provides her perspective

"Facebook is useless without my friends," said Ruby Karp, a 13 year old blogger whose editorial about social networking appeared on Mashable this week.

In the op-ed, Karp explains how as a 7 year old she dreamed of the day she would be allowed to have a Facebook account and in a wise-beyond-her-years demeanor states, "By the time we could have Facebooks, we were already obsessed with Instagram. Facebook was just this thing all our parents seemed to have."

The topic of teens leaving the social networking site has been making waves across the internet for several months.

Our own Local 6 viewers took part in an experiment with their teenagers regarding how frequently they are using Instagram.  The mothers were shocked to find out how many followers their young children had on the site, especially since they had never met most of these people in person.

Karp explains in her editorial, "Teens are followers, that's what we are. If all of my friends are getting this new thing called Snapchat, I want it too!"

She goes on to explain that everyone's parents have Facebook, so if someone posts a picture they shouldn't that means her parents are going to see it. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he is not concerned about teenagers fleeing Facebook, because he doesn't see it happening.

"Based on our data, that just isn't true," he said during a July earnings call, according to a Fortune article published by CNN.

But a pew internet study suggests otherwise.

In focus groups conducted for the study, teens expressed waning enthusiasm for Facebook due to the adult presence, excessive sharing and stressful 'drama'.

Karp points this out in her editorial, explaining the bullying that can happen on Facebook. 

"Kids might comment something mean on a photo of you, or message you mean things. This isn't Facebook's fault, but again, it does happen there," she wrote.

Of course bullying could take place on any social media platform, but apparently Karp perceives Facebook as a breeding ground for it.

According to Fortune, Zuckerberg views teen social networking is not a zero-sum game.  While teens may be embracing apps like SnapChat, Kik and MessageMe more, they're using Facebook more at the same time.

Since most internet usage research only accounts for users over 18 years of age, it is hard to determine if teens are actually fleeing the site or just spending less time on it.

As Karp puts it, "Facebook has been trying too hard. Teens hate it when people try too hard; it pushes them away."

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