A quick introduction. Remy is working as an intern at North and as she's a web-savvy teenager, we asked her last week to write up her thoughts about how she spends her time on the social web. Here's her response in her own words. Teens and the Social Web in 2010
For me, the internet is really second nature. It's just something that I grew up using. Whether I'm using it to help me write a research paper, or upload pictures of my trip to the beach to Facebook, the internet is an everyday tool for me. I think that most people my age would agree.
When I was in middle school Myspace became popular. It was the next step after I.M. (online instant messaging). I remember begging my parents to let me sign up. It was free, easy, and a way to connect with friends outside of school - without having to leave my house of course. However, just as most things online eventually become out-of-date, so did Myspace.
We then saw the rise of Facebook, another popular social networking website. All of my friends became obsessed. Back then we were all so intrigued that you could do so many different things on one single website. I remember when I first got my Facebook account I was hooked, I would stay on for hours trying to figure it out and chatting with my friends. I think to this day, about 4 years after I first signed up with Facebook, I'm still a bit obsessed. Not in the sense that I stay logged on for hours exploring all that Facebook has to offer, but I'm constantly updating my status from my phone or when I'm at a computer, I'll log on and chat with friends for a while. It's just something that people my age do.
I think that for a lot of teens, the internet is a gateway to new and exciting things. It is a system that allows us to download our favorite music and catch up with friends via Facebook and/or Twitter, all at the same time.
The social web is really "home" for teens nowadays; We feel comfortable on social networking sites, we know how to use them, and they are constantly changing to keep up with our non-stop, busy lives. I don't think that half of the teens would use the internet as much if there wasn't a social aspect to it. Being able to stay up-to-date with friends is really the key component for most teenagers. Having access to websites such as Facebook and Twittter allows teens to stay connected with each other and to broaden their social networking circles. However, after speaking with my friend, 17 year old Kwabena Boateng, I realized I’d neglected to take notice of the negative affect that the social web can have on teens.
Kwabena points out that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are not always the safest way to make new friends, or the best indicator of who someone truly is, "I think teens are too gullible to what the media says. The first thing they hear about someone or something is the automatic truth, and not all social media will say the same thing about someone or something so it causes confusion and no one really knows what the truth is anymore."
I think this is a good point that Kwabena makes. Anybody can create a Facebook or Twitter account and say that they are who ever they want and no one really knows for sure. That's the iffy thing about the social web these days. However, I think that for most teens, the social web is a place where you're able to express yourself and surround yourself with people your own age. The social web goes hand-in-hand with teens nowadays. Teens want access to the latest and greatest, and the social web has to respond to our needs.