In a conversation with Evie Nagy, Microsoft Research Principal Researcher danah boyd talks about how teens use social media. It's not the same way grown-ups do:
My adult Twitter experience is more of people using it for professional communication or news sharing or brand building or comedy. How do teens use Twitter differently, and what do adults need to understand most?(more...)
The first thing you would notice if you were following teenagers is that you would not see very many links. Which is radically different than our world. They're doing a lot of interacting and engaging around celebrities, pop culture, really funny trending topics that they think are interesting, I'm sure you've seen some of the crazy hashtags. And of course with Instagram, hashtags have become even stronger on Twitter. Hashtags are content in and of themselves. I'm not sure if you saw that SNL sketch that was like 'hashtag, how are you today?,' etc. There's a degree to which this is kind of true when you look at teen content. They're also more likely to have protected accounts, and use it to talk to a small group of their actual friends. To them Facebook is everyone they ever knew, and Twitter is something they've locked down to just a handful of people they care about--which is often the opposite of how adults use them.