I read the LIBR 203 course information about social networking sites with interest, especially Business Insider’s Social Media Demographics report. The topic has been on my mind a lot lately, probably because I work with teenagers and they have a lot of opinions about social media. As little as three years ago, Facebook was a tantalizing, but forbidden thing to most junior high students. The school computers blocked access to Facebook and most parents didn’t want their children on it, so of course, students wanted to visit even more. Now, students never mention Facebook to me–instead, they want to go to Instagram.
By coincidence, my students just read an article on the topic in January’s Scholastic Scope magazine. For those who don’t know it, Scholastic Scope is an excellent publication for junior high students. It contain’s both literary and informational texts on topics that kids usually want to read about. This month there is an article titled “Is Facebook Dead?” It isn’t the article I had planned on reading that day, but my students immediately turned to the page and started discussing it. Here’s what I heard:
Yeah, Facebook has too many adults.
Instagram is cool!
I have Twitter!
Ms. McMillan, do you have a Facebook? You should do Instagram! You don’t even have to write anything!
I pointed out that there is a writing contest (listed at the bottom of the page) asking students to write their opinions about whether Facebook is dying. One boy said, “Yeah, we should write one together.” He said this enthusiastically. He really had strong feelings.
Meanwhile, I was trying to tear my students away from the Facebook page because I had planned for us to read a different article. The whole experience showed me that young teenagers are virtually obsessed with social media. They don’t use that term of course, but they want to be a part of that virtual world and it occupies a fair amount of their mental energy. It just may not be Facebook. It seems there are too many of us grownups there.