Student Social Media Showcase (SSMS) 2016 at Big Bang South East

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Taking the Showcase to the Big Bang event at Ardingly showground this year was a great chance to talk to young people (ages roughly 9-13). Just being at a small display stand and talking to hundreds of the 8000 schoolchildren and their teachers who attended was a stimulating experience.

University of Brighton students of Digital Marketing had shared video presentations with us on the SSMS site and we were able to show them, talk about them, and generally chat face to face with people for whom social media is a given, not a possible.

The top apps were Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube from those we spoke with, but there were quite a few media which were new to us – I Heart You, Steam etc. Most surprising in a way was the proliferation of social media students knew and used. Many could list up to 8 different social media without trying and insisted they used them all. We didn’t do a scientific study here, just a vox pop, but it felt as if these young people collected social media like stickers – badges of social acceptability and status.

There was a clear sense from many that Facebook was less popular in this age group – this has been reported for some time now. Facebook for young people is generally a place to keep in touch with, or avoid, parents and family. The big platforms where stuff stays around for ever are concerning people, so they are moving to WhatsApp or similar where privacy of group chat is possible with end to end encryption, and Snapchat where stuff simply doesn’t stay around. The fashionable churn of social media over the last two decades is not surprising. But of course, social media are not just accessories, they are shaping the way we communicate and learn, and unlearn. More on that one in a later post.

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