Snappy Parenting & the Changing Social Media Landscape

As a digital marketing professional, social media is a big part of my life, whether I like it or not.  And it is because of this importance to my business, that I am pretty in-the-know about what my kids are doing when they bury their faces in their phones.

Look, my kids are 16 and 12. I discarded my social naiveté years ago and I am done justifying it to my friends. My kids literally taught me how to take a selfie. They can art direct a photo better than a lot of professionals.  They share content with me that is relevant and helpful to my business – and they don’t even know it.  (It would not be cool if they knew this.)

Snapchat 101

SnapChat & Social Media

A Professional Selfie.

Several months ago, I started to notice that my son no longer commented on my Facebook posts. I knew it was becoming passé to his age group, but the latest statistics are fascinating.

There are 3 million fewer teens on Facebook now that in 2011; that’s a 25% drop.

No business wants to see their bread and butter clients flee this quickly.  On the flipside, users in the 55+ age demographic exploded in two years by over 80%.  Plus, Facebook owns Instagram which is where the kids go when they flee Facebook.  Where will the kids go next?

Tumblr, Flickr and Vine are favorites – and have you heard of  We Heart It?  It may be exhausting to think about, but it’s a day in the life of teens.

Ironically, my kids are teaching me a lot about social media behavior.  (It would not be cool if they knew this.) They are interesting not only because they share my DNA, but also because they are a great focus group.  Case in point, Snapchat.

Snapchat from a marketing perspective

Our clients currently do not have a compelling marketing need for Snapchat, so it has not been a “need to know” – yet.  (I’m busy still trying to make sense of Google+.  But I digress.) My children recently requested this wildly popular photo sharing app. I have heard all the negatives and I wanted to know the positives. So along with doing my own research, I had them write a paper about why the want Snapchat. I needed convincing (in other words, I needed to learn about their behavior in their own words).

The truth is, Snapchat has intimidated me for a while.  My children sharing pictures that I may never see?  How could I allow that?  However, having been a recent “victim” of social espionage, I was reminded that photo sharing is tricky. (A photo was lifted from my private account and given to a media outlet, which then proliferated in seconds.) Suddenly, thinking of my kids exchanging self-destructing photos didn’t sound so bad, as opposed to photos that live “forever”.  If they are going to post photos anyway, what is so horrible about them disappearing? It was beginning to make unlikely sense.

After reading the Snapchat white paper penned by my 12-year-old and speaking to five other trusted moms, my children and I are diving into the world of Snapchat together.  My goal is to learn from their behavior as a parent – and apply these observations as a professional.

Let the snapping begin…