The Kids Ain’t Given Up On Facebook Yet

Citing a Pew Research Study about teen use of social media and technology, Quartz drew attention to a finding that wealthier kids like Instagram while less affluent kids like Facebook.

And while there has been intermittent hysteria over the past few years about Facebook becoming uncool, the Pew Center also reported that 71% of teens continue to use it—even as the same percentage say they use more than one platform.

Here’s where wealth comes into play, according to Pew:

The survey data reveals a distinct pattern in social media use by socio-economic status. Teens from less well-off households (those earning less than $50,000) are more likely than others to say they use Facebook the most: 49% of these teens say they use it most often, compared with 37% of teens from somewhat wealthier families (those earning $50,000 or more).

My first thought upon reading the Quartz article was that using a targetted boosted post on Facebook might be an effective way to reach lower income, underserved kids in order to make them aware of free/low cost performances, workshops, summer camps, scholarships, etc.

Looking at the Pew Research study findings provides some greater insights about the devices and social media sites on which teens frequently interact.

…African-American teens are the most likely of any group of teens to have a smartphone, with 85% having access to one, compared with 71% of both white and Hispanic teens. These phones and other mobile devices have become a primary driver of teen internet use: Fully 91% of teens go online from mobile devices at least occasionally. Among these “mobile teens,” 94% go online daily or more often…

African-American and Hispanic youth report more frequent internet use than white teens. Among African-American teens, 34% report going online “almost constantly” as do 32% of Hispanic teens, while 19% of white teens go online that often.

Income and race also often determine whether someone has access to a desktop or tablet computer. In any case, it seems increasingly important to make sure your website design is mobile friendly (h/t Drew McManus) if you want teens to have positive interactions with it as that is increasingly the platform of choice.

Gender also plays a role with females having a large representation on visual social media like Instagram, Pintrest, Snapchat, Tumblr and males spending a lot of time playing games on their phones, computers or consoles.

As always,  knowing the good places to reach a demographic is easier than knowing how best to interact with the group.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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