Social Media 101 – Cheat Sheets

SOCIAL MEDIA

CHEAT SHEET

So you want to learn a little more about the most popular social media apps for girls these days? Upon request, I’ve created a little cheat sheet for you. Hopefully it’ll help you understand a little bit about what these apps do, why your girls dig ‘em, and why you might not…

 

  INSTAGRAM

What It Does

Arguably the most popular social media app, Instagram lets users upload photos and videos to share either publicly or privately with their followers. It includes photo-editing technology and filters to make pics look their absolute best. Followers can then “like” these photos and comment on them. It’s also got a “story” feature (which it stole from Snapchat) where users can upload pics and videos that last 24 hours.

Why They Like It

Girls get to share their best and most fabulous photos and receive instant validation through likes. And clearly, the more followers and likes you have, the better. It’s pretty much a platform for bragging. They can also follow celebs on Instagram.

Why You Won’t Like It

One word: Obsession. Not only must a photo that’s uploaded to Instagram be flawless, but the caption has to be clever, and girls even agonize over what time they should post it to get the most likes. Then they’ll check to see who did or did not like their pic afterwards. It encourages the comparing of their life to someone else’s, and fewer likes could equal lower self-esteem. As if that’s not enough, complete strangers can also follow your girl if her account is public.  

 

  FINSTA

 

Not another app, but a secret account on Instagram that your girl may or may not have. Where one’s real Instagram account is the flawless, beautiful side of their lives, a “Finsta” or Fake Instagram account is for the honest, not-so-perfect side of things, sans filter. Not everyone can see their Finsta and girls even create elusive usernames so others can’t find them because it’s only for sharing with close friends (no parents, obvi).  Sometimes things can get a little too real – revelations about jealousy, insecurity, bullying included – so if it sounds like a Finsta account is just a recipe for potential real life drama, that’s because it very well could be.

 

  SNAPCHAT

What It Does

This incredibly popular app allows users to instantly send (or “snap,” as they call it) photos and videos back and forth with friends, and these snaps expire after a set number of seconds. Users can create a “Snapchat story” of pics and videos that friends can view for a period of 24 hours (lots of celebs do this). Less curated and less edited than Instagram, it allows users to write, draw on, add emojis, and swipe a couple of filters onto their pics, including geotags (they show location) and funny faces. You can see who’s viewed your story (cringe) and if and when your friends open your snaps. It also has a chat feature.

Why They Like It

Snapchat lets girls give their friends a peek into their daily lives without the pressure of “likes.” It feels a lot more spontaneous and goofy than Instagram. You can just send a quick and silly selfie to your BFF or you can snap scenes from your family’s vacation. Snapchat also has “channels” for keeping up with all the coolest brands and news outlets, like Buzzfeed, CNN, Glamour and Cosmo, so when something’s happening in the world, good and bad, kids can immediately know about it via Snapchat.

Why You Won’t Like It

The snap “streak” feature which rewards users for snapping back and forth with a friend for multiple days in a row has kids obsessed with using the app every day. Also, the fact that the photos disappear after a few seconds means the app lends itself to sexting and naked pics, so it’s a bit scary the damage one indiscreet snap could do. Did I mention that users can screenshot any snaps they receive… to save forever on their own phones? Uh, yeah…

 

  VSCO

What It Does

VCSO is an app for editing photos that comes with lots of tools, cool filters, and presets to making your pics look edgy, hip, vintage, or like they were taken with a film camera. You can upload photos to the VSCO community, like with Instagram, but most kids just use it to edit their photos so that they can then upload them to Instagram.

Why They Like It

Because who doesn’t want their photos to look better, cooler, artsy, or more original? (It is actually a great photo editing app.)

Why You Won’t Like It

It gives girls yet another way to obsess over their photos and their looks. And it adds another several minutes to the time they already spend on their phones. It’s like throwing a whole extra step into the already tedious process of Instagramming.

 

  TUMBLR

What It Does

It’s a microblogging site. What? It’s a simpler version of blogging, where users can post literally whatever they want – photos, quotes, jokes, art, anything. And it can get really niche — some Tumblr accounts specialize in photos of girls that look like Justin Bieber for instance. Others focus on strictly funny cat memes. Other users can then comment and “re-blog” things they like

Why They Like It

It’s like a digital scrapbook where anybody can display their creativity without too much tech knowledge. Girls can easily use a Tumblr page to express themselves using whatever they find on the Internet or things that they create or write on their own. Popular posts are quickly copied and shared.

Why You Won’t Like It

It’s yet another platform on which you need to seem “cool.” And yeah there’s lots of artsy stuff, but there’s also lots of porn. And lots of anything really. That’s kinda the point of it. Oh, and even if you post something super personal or original, that’s fair game for it to be copied and shared on Tumblr.

 

  HOUSE PARTY

What It Does

It’s an app that allows group video chats. (I’m shocked this wasn’t a thing sooner?!)

Why They Like It

Girls can see and talk to a select group of their friends FROM THEIR PHONES! Up to eight people can be in a video chat at the same time and everybody gets alerted when somebody new joins. Imagine the possibilities when they’re all getting ready for a big night out and they can not only chat about but also SEE what everybody else is wearing! Just kidding, I mean they can totally use it for group study sessions. It’s like a more fun version of a conference call.

Why You Won’t Like It

Kids can chat with users they don’t know. And that’s creepy. (Anybody in a chat can also take a screenshot of what they see and it doesn’t alert the others like Snapchat does.) Also, kids can “lock” conversations so that no one else can join them, which is great for cyber security, but just screams “You can’t sit with us!” to other girls who might feel excluded from the group chat.

 

  ASK.fm

What It Does

Users of this app can post anonymous question for others to answer – you guessed it –  anonymously. (Technically you can choose to identify yourself when asking or answering a question, but who’s really doing that?) And of course, lots of users choose to ask questions about other people or themselves. This is just bad news…

Why They Like It

Drama? Entertainment? Curiosity about others’ opinions of them? I don’t know, this seems horrific… like watching a car crash.

Why You Won’t Like It

So many hurt feelings, the ease of bullying anonymously via an app, encouraging gossip and rumors. As if talking behind someone’s back wasn’t enough, now kids can talk trash virtually with no repercussions. While the app’s creators say it allows people to get advice and criticism and work on themselves, it feels like it’s just offering kids free reign to be mean with no consequences.

 

  TEXTING

What It Does

You know how text messages work. But with today’s read receipts and the iPhone’s ability to show you when the recipient is typing, texting keeps us on edge more than ever. But don’t you dare call or leave a voicemail, you maniac. Texting is the lifeblood of communication nowadays, and not just for pre-teens and teens.

Why They Like It

Teen girls ages 15 to 17 send an average of 50 texts per day, and girls just a couple years younger send an average of 40 messages per day. They like being able to quickly and easily get in touch with their friends (even if it is sometimes with an emoji). Group texts are a big thing with girls too, especially if there’s a big event coming up. They can be really fun and hilarious… or really annoying when you look down at your phone and have like 89 texts.

Why You Won’t Like It

Constantly looking at their phones, the sexting potential, not being able to see the kind of talk that’s coming through, the over-analytical, nerve-wracking nature of texting a boy back. Oh, and there’s the pressure of having to be a witty texter, which is a really cool and attractive thing these days. And with group texts, when girls get left out of one it can be really hurtful.

 

 

  SECRET APPS

What It Does

Apps like Best Secret Folder and KYMS (it stands for Keep Your Media Safe) allow users to hide private photos in a password-protected secret folder on their phone. The folder is disguised on their screen as a “Utilities” folder or a calculator (named “Ky-Calc”) so that parents won’t see any suspicious-looking apps. They’re basically marketed for the purpose of storing scandalous pics.

Why They Like It

It keeps parents out of their private photos…

Why You Won’t Like It

It means they have private photos…
 

 

  MUSICAL.LY and TRILLER

What It Does

These apps let users create and edit high quality music videos to share with an online community. Videos typically involve lip-syncing, dancing, comedy, or whatever else you feel like doing after you select a song and start filming yourself.

Why They Like It

It’s a fun creative platform that lets girls express themselves, especially if they’re into music, or just joke around. Plus they get to see themselves in professionally edited videos looking like celebs.

Why You Won’t Like It

The point of these apps for many girls, again, is to get Internet famous or at least get as many followers as possible, so there’s a lot of emphasis on popularity and looking great. For that reason, most users’ accounts and videos are public, and though the apps do a good job of censoring or removing any explicit content, that doesn’t mean creeps out there aren’t still watching kids’ videos.

 

  TWITTER

What It Does

It’s a social network where users can send out short 140-character messages or “tweets” to their followers. If something is talked about or #hashtagged a lot across Twitter, it will become a “trending topic.” Most celebs, brands, news sites and big organizations have a Twitter handle. Also, the president.

Why They Like It

Though Twitter is definitely not in its prime anymore, it’s great for following the news and pop culture. Teens now mainly use it to follow celebrities and their drama. Also, it’s a big platform for making fun of (or “trolling”) people.

Why You Won’t Like It

See above trolling. Also, is Twitter really the best way to get your news? And unlike Instagram, Twitter isn’t censored so there’s lots of explicit content (ie, lots of porn stars have Twitter accounts).

 

  FACEBOOK

What It Does

The biggest one of them all. It’s a social network where you can become “friends” online with your friends in real life… or anybody else in the world. Users can share photos and statuses that will pop up on the “News Feed” of their friends. Users can also write messages and share things on their friends’ walls (not so common nowadays). Businesses and celebrities have pages that you can “like” to follow them. Users can create events to invite people to parties, etc. or make groups to communicate messages, coordinate plans, or sell things to other people in that group. Its popular chat feature is called Facebook Messenger, an app in itself.

Why They Like It

The same gratification of “likes” as Instagram combined with the ability to creep on people to see what they’re up to (aka “Facebook stalking”). Facebook has lost a lot of popularity with teens because so many parents and older folks have now joined. (It used to be just for people with a university email address but not anymore!) Teens often alter their names so other users can’t find them, because word on the street is teachers, potential employers, and college admissions higher-ups might be checking Facebook for dirt. Some kids create accounts in high school because their schools and sports teams use it to communicate.

Why You Won’t Like It

Facebook can be a big time suck – it’s possible to spend hours endlessly scrolling through your News Feed. It can also be an unhealthy way to stalk an ex-boyfriend or ex-best friend (or anybody else on Facebook) for girls. Another reason Facebook is uncool now is the plethora of terrible, often whiny, attention-craving, or braggy statuses posted by users who aren’t so adept with this whole social media thing.

 

 

  NETFLIX

What It Does

It’s Netflix (the streaming service for television series and movies) but for your phone or tablet, so you can watch stuff on the go from anywhere.

Why They Like It

Entertainment on the reg. Being in-the-know about the latest Netflix series so they can talk about it (and post about it) with their friends. The best thing about the app is actually that you can now download shows and watch them later, but I doubt girls care about that so much. Really it’s cool because “Netflix and chill” is the new catchphrase and date night of choice for young people now.

Why You Won’t Like It

First, it’s like no one’s ever even heard of books! Second, the app encourages watching things on a tiny screen in private rather than on the couch with the fam. Third, since all the episodes of a series are available on Netflix at once, it really encourages binge-watching. And fourth, the shows produced by Netflix aren’t available anywhere else, so you really have to have a subscription to watch and keep up.
 

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