Teens, Facebook And The Future Of Social Media

Posted by Harshad

Teens, Facebook And The Future Of Social Media

Teens, Facebook And The Future Of Social Media

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 07:01 AM PST

"Teens leaving Facebook" has been a favourite topic of the tech media for a while now. In fact, back in 2010, Mashable ran an article about teens and "Facebook fatigue" and the topic’s not been far from the tech media’s lips ever since. More recently, over the latter half of 2013, the topic returned to the forefront, with news pieces related to this supposed teen exodus from Facebook appearing on Business Insider, The Guardian, ABC News and almost anywhere else in between.

Facebook And Teenagers

The main thread running through all these reports is the fact that teens are supposedly leaving Facebook for alternative services, mainly messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. There are a number of reasons that have been cited for this migration, but put simply: Facebook just isn’t as cool as it used to be.

In this post, we’re going to look into this supposed exodus, and at some supporting statistics to see if teens are really calling it quits when it comes to Facebook.

Setting The Scene: Teens And Facebook

At first glance, there does seem to be some truth in the idea that teens are leaving Facebook. Facebook, in their annual 10-K report (released February 2013) reported that its younger users in particular were "aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook".

Looking at statistics provided by GlobalWebIndex, between the 1st & 3rd quarters of 2013, the percentage of active Facebook users globally, aged 16-19, fell from 76% to 56%.

Facebook Active Teen User Trends
(Image Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Even Pew Internet & American Life Project has something to add on the subject of teens, social media and privacy. Teens who took part in focus group discussions were expressing less and less enthusiasm for Facebook, and a greater enthusiasm for other social networks such as Twitter and Instagram.

A survey conducted by The Futures Company reported that a full 50% of teen respondents named YouTube as their favourite website. Teenage dissatisfaction with Facebook is starting to look like a very real thing.

The cherry on top comes in the form of Daniel Miller, an academic with University College London, who declared that Facebook was "dead and buried", the silver bullet cited by many media reports when touching on the subject of teens leaving Facebook (although his observation was based on ethnographic research and was never meant to be representative of a global trend).

So Why Are Teens Leaving Facebook?

There must be a reason why teens are leaving Facebook right? Well, funnily enough, one of the main reasons driving teens away from Facebook might just be Facebook’s own success in expanding its userbase. There have been notable increases in Facebook usage for demographics above 35 years old aka mom and dad, and older. Having family members on Facebook sure limits the amount of information that teens are willing to share on Facebook.

(Image Source: makemelaugh)

Teens, such as those interviewed in the Pew study, have also cited "excessive drama" as being a reason for reduced Facebook activity. Facebook’s insistence on using one’s real name, and the multiple ways in which users can interact, leave teenage users open to multiple forms of drama. Getting dumped is as easy as a change with the relationship status – you can imagine the amount of real-life issues that can easily carry over to the social network.

Both of these factors may go hand in hand with "the age of brag" ending; sharing every single detail about your personal life with the whole Internet is now passe.

Sharing and communicating through more private channels and mobile messaging services such as WhatsApp or Shapchat would seem to be the way to go. And since 78% of teens have a cellphone (47% of them on some form of smartphone), mobile phones have become the main method of Internet access in the US.

(Image Source: All Things D)

The rise in smartphones and mobile Internet has led to a new crop of communication and social networking services that seem to fit teenage use patterns better. Quick communication is in, developing and maintaining profiles isn’t.

Where Are Teens Going?

Apparently, mobile apps, and closed messaging services such as WeChat and WhatsApp (which has overtaken Facebook Messenger in popularity), quick photo- and video-sharing services such as Instagram and Vine, as well as ephemeral photo messaging service Snapchat have all gained in popularity amongst teens:

Where Are Teens Going?
(Image Source: GlobalWebIndex)

Note: Snapchat’s omission from the chart above is due to a lack of trend data, but GlobalWebIndex did mention that 10% of teens across the world were already using the app as of Q3 2013.

Is It Really That Bad?

So this is it, isn’t it? Facebook is "dead and buried"? Well, not quite.

You see, while it’s obvious that Facebook is no longer the only game in town for teens, the fact remains that it’s still by far the most popular social network. According to GlobalWebIndex’s data: 56% of 16-19 year old teens are still using the social network. Even Facebook’s closest "competitor", YouTube, is only used by 35% of the world’s teens.

No matter how you look at it, that’s still a healthy lead which tells us that, no matter what, Facebook remains the most popular social network amongst teens.

Global Social Platform Reach
(Image Source: GlobalWebIndex)

As for the other statistics, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the study which provided most of the sources for teenage dissatisfaction with Facebook, have come out stating that the reports of Facebook’s demise have been greatly exaggerated – while it’s true that teens are using other social networks, this doesn’t mean that they’ve abandoned Facebook entirely.

Daniel Miller also points out that while Facebook may be severely uncool for a certain teenage demographic, these same teens still use it to keep in touch with older family members. Even the study by The Futures Company which found that YouTube was the most popular site for teens is slightly skewed, in that it allowed respondents to list up to 5 websites.

What’s more, the growth of messaging and mobile doesn’t necessarily leave Facebook totally in the lurch; while teens have claimed that they no longer visited Facebook after getting a smartphone, it’s important to note that the mobile Facebook app and Facebook Messenger are still quite popular.

Facebook’s recent purchase of Little Eye Labs should also help improve their mobile app experience. In addition, it remains to be seen what, if any, effect the recent Snapchat security leaks and the developers’ less-than-satisfactory response to the matter will have on teen users’ confidence in the service.

Teenage-Fueled Impact

There are two ways to look at the issue of whether a supposed exodus even matters in the larger context. Going by revenue alone, it’s doubtful whether a loss of cool amongst teen users will have a significant effect on Facebook’s revenue.

Teenagers, on the whole, don’t have the spending power to truly create a vacuum in advertising revenue if they leave; as UBS analyst Eric Sheridan has pointed out, the target demographic for most Facebook advertisers are 25 to 40 year olds. Teenagers moving away will have some effect on revenue, but will it bring Facebook to its knees? Unlikely.

Teens Using A Smartphone
(Image Source: The Times)

That said, research firm Nielsen has pointed out that the under-25 demographic can be equally important as the main 25-54 year old demographic, when it comes to building brand awareness and loyalty. Besides, even if teenagers might not have the spending power of those aged 25 and above, this doesn’t preclude them from being passionate about and promoting favoured products and services.

Okay, what about Facebook’s reign as the social network to be on? Well, if teens do indeed have a preference for messaging services, ephemerality (or both, in the case of Snapchat) and social networks less prone to "excessive drama", then there isn’t really much that Facebook can do. That hasn’t stopped it trying, though, as its recent $3bn offer for Snapchat proves.

But the fact that the social network is still growing, even with the drop off in active teen users, shows that Facebook is still doing something right, and is hardly worried or reacting to this loss in users.

Final Thoughts

The past few years have definitely seen a change in the social media landscape, with mobile-friendly apps and networks gaining more and more popularity with teens. While it’s clear that teens are gravitating towards these services, the jury is still out as to whether this will directly translate into a negative long-term impact on Facebook.

After all, it’s important to remember that teenagers are fickle, and that the teenage brain is "a work in progress". What’s "in" one day may be "out" the next, and what’s uncool during one’s teens may just be seen more positively later in life, beyond their teenage years.


20 UI Design Photoshop Tutorials That Will Come in Handy

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 05:01 AM PST

Using Photoshop to create captivating UI elements such as realistic-looking icons and widgets is often a challenging task, especially for those who are still learning the ropes of UI/UX design. Many different factors have to be taken into consideration: the lighting, edges, shadows, and so on.

Lucky for us, there are plenty of useful tutorials available online on how to create impressive user and web interface elements; and today, I would like to bring your attention to 20 of them. You can use these tutorials to spice up your website’s design, design a new mobile app, or simply to improve your Photoshop skills.

More Photoshop tutorials:

How to Create a Detailed Audio Rotary Knob Control. A detailed tutorial with step-by-step illustrations on how to create a detailed Retina audio rotary knob UI element in Photoshop and Illustrator.

How to Design a Chatroom iPhone UI. A comprehensive guide on how to create a chat-based app UI for iPhone. All the different Photoshop tools and layer styles included make it a worthwhile tutorial to use if you’re looking to improve your Photoshop skills.

Create a Flat Countdown Timer – iOS 7 Inspired. Learn how to design a iOS 7-inspired countdown timer with this tutorial. You’ll learn how to play around with colors, styles, and backgrounds to achieve unique results.

Create a Realistic Telephone Keypad Using Layer Styles. Learn how to design a realistic-looking telephone keypad using layer styles and shape layers with this beginner-friendly Photoshop tutorial that will probably just take 30 minutes to complete.

Create an Instagram Widget. This tutorial will show you how to design an attractive Instagram widget with Photoshop in just a half an hour. A good way to get more Instagram followers for your website.

Design a Photorealistic App Icon. Have you seen lots of realistic-looking app icons on Dribble before? Using layer masks and styles, this detailed step-by-step tutorial will show you how to design a record player app icon that will look just as realistic as those icons you’ve seen on Dribble.

Create a Clean Twitter App Interface. An extremely detailed tutorial (more than 80 steps involved) on how to design a minimalist Twitter app interface. If you’re thinking of becoming a mobile interface designer, this might be the best tutorial for you to start with.

Design a Glossy Coming Soon Box/Layout. Learn how to use Photoshop to design a smooth and stylish "Coming Soon" layout that even comes with a loading bar.

How to Design a Realistic Takeout Coffee Icon. If you’ve seen my previous showcase of beautiful coffee cup designs, you can use this tutorial to learn how to create an attractive coffee cup design just like one of those featured in the showcase.

How to Design an iPhone Music Player App Interface. In this intermediate-level tutorial, you will learn how to make use of several new features found in Photoshop CS6 to design a stylish iPhone music player app UI.

Create a Mobile Calendar App. In this 25-step tutorial, you will learn how to design a bright orange mobile calendar app interface using Photoshop. This tutorial is intended for intermediate Photoshop users.

Design a Slider with Ribbon Elements (CS6). Learn how to design a nice sleek slider with ribbons using Photoshop with this tutorial. It also features lots of useful tricks and techniques that may come in handy for you in the future.

Design a Slick Modern Pricing Table UI. This short but clear tutorial will show you how to use Photoshop to create a modern pricing table in just 5 steps.

Build a Slick Rich User Interface. A comprehensive tutorial that guides you on how to use Photoshop to create a rich and stylish UI with a realistic-looking LED screen. Throughout the tutorial, you will learn a number of complex Photoshop techniques.

How to Create a Super Shiny Pencil Icon. In this advanced Photoshop tutorial, you will learn how to create a realistic-looking pencil icon by using gradients, shadows, and transformation tools.

Create a Clean Web 2.0 Login Form. Learn how to use Photoshop to design a simple login form that has a huge side button with this tutorial. A PSD file is also provided in the tutorial.

Design an iPad App UI. This tutorial will teach you how to create a design for an iPad app by using grid structures and masking tools. You’ll also learn how to develop different pages in a single document.

Design a Calendar Widget. Learn how to create a simple but cool Calendar widget with this easy-to-follow tutorial that has lots of illustrations.

Design a Clean and Modern Pinboard Widget. This tutorial will teach you how to create a clean, minimalist pinboard widget for featuring the most popular posts – handy for bloggers of any kind.

Create a Simple Contact Form. Learn how to use Photoshop to create a flat, clean contact form in just 40 minutes. This tutorial is intended for beginner Photoshop users.


How To Stop Windows From Automatically Restarting To Install Updates [Quicktip]

Posted: 30 Jan 2014 02:01 AM PST

We’ve all been there before: you went away, leaving your PC on and it restarted automatically without your consent. Usually this is caused by automatic installation of Windows updates. When this happens, you might lose all your open windows, browser tabs and anything else essential to your work.

Windows Update Restart Prompt

Of course, an easy way to stop this from happening would be to stop Windows from automatically downloading and installing updates. But that leaves us open to the possibility of missing critical security updates.

If you’ve been in this situation before, but want to have the best of both worlds, here’s a way you can keep Windows updating automatically but stop it from restarting your PC every time it needs to install an update.

Note: This workaround doesn’t disable the restart prompt Windows shows after it’s downloaded updates, but it does stop Windows from automatically restarting if you don’t respond to the prompt within 15 minutes.

Stop Windows From Automatically Restarting

This is going to require some registry editing, so the first thing to do is open Windows’ built-in registry editor, Regedit. To do this, open the Run prompt by pressing Win + R, type regedit into the text box and then press enter or click OK.

Launching Regedit

This will open Regedit. Before we go any further, it’s important that you make a backup of your registry, since editing the registry is risky and can easily go wrong. Just go to File > Export and save the exported registry file anywhere you please.

Exporting Registry

Now, navigate through the registry to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows. Once you’re here, right-click on Windows and add a new registry key by going to New > Key. Name the new key WindowsUpdate.

Once the WindowsUpdate key has been created, right-click on it and add another new key named AU. The path should now be HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU.

Adding WindowsUpdate And AU Keys

Now all that’s left to do is to add two DWORDs to this key. Do this by right-clicking on the AU key and going to New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. The two new DWORDs you need to add are:

  • AlwaysAutoRebootAtScheduledTime
  • NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers

Adding DWORDs

You’ll have to set the value of the NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers to 1. To do this, just double-click on the DWORD in the right panel then change the Value data in the window that appears from 0 to 1.

Changing DWORD Value

And there you have it: Windows should no longer automatically restart to install recently downloaded updates.


When Does Brand Design Actually Matter?

Posted: 29 Jan 2014 11:01 PM PST

As a brand identity designer, I often struggle with this question. Looking at companies like Apple, Dell, Google, and Amazon, which all started out with bland, uninspiring logos and no real brand identity to speak of, I often find myself pondering over which of my potential clients would truly benefit from my services, and which may need a few more years of being in business before they can get the maximum cost-effectiveness of hiring me.

(Image source: Mark)

Today, we’re going to examine the how and why of branding, and who actually benefits from a sleek, cohesive brand identity.

Why It Matters: Users and Buyers

There’s no question that people like things that are well-designed. A trendy new restaurant will get a lot more customers if it has a fun, intriguing design than one that is bland and unappealing. There are plenty of studies which show that good brand design not only makes people happier, it also causes them to spend more money.

But just how much of a difference does it make to a client whose business isn’t yet attracting customers? There are, after all, plenty of local neighborhood restaurants which have been around for years, or even decades, that do just fine without any kind of snazzy branding pyrotechnics. They still perform the function people need – provide good food and customer service.

(Image source: Sam Javanrouh)

This kind of brand analysis should be part of any branding designer’s job. Your clients are hiring you not necessarily to provide a logo or a slick website – they’re hiring you in order to maximize their brand’s effectiveness in the marketplace. Being discerning about which clients you decide to help can not only help strengthen your portfolio, it can also help shape the design industry by teaching clients about the perfect time to hire branding designers.

When Do Companies Need Brand Design?

In my experience, new startups are the most eager to request branding services, while being the least likely to actually need them. Rather than focusing on making their businesses profitable, they often waste their resources making their brand look slick and perfect.

Yes, that’s right. Most new startups would do well not to hire someone like me to develop their brand identity. At least not yet. I’m not shy about telling them so, and if you’re a brand designer who serves entrepreneurs, you shouldn’t be either.

It might seem like I’m shooting myself in the foot when I turn away these types of clients (and I very often do), but years of working with businesses have taught me something that these new entrepreneurs don’t yet understand: your brand is worthless until it turns a profit. The point of any business is not to look pretty. The point is to make money. If a business isn’t making money… well, it’s just not a business, and it has no “business” hiring you.

Ugly Brand, Beautiful Profit

Apple was profitable long before Jonathan Ive was hired to produce the very first iMacs. If you’ve ever seen Apple’s original logo from the 1980s, you’ll know that 1) it’s hideous, and 2) a business really doesn’t need a great logo right out of the gate.

What a business needs out of the gate, again, is sales, and any designer who tells an entrepreneur otherwise is being disingenuous at best, and hurting both themselves and their clients at worst. If your client runs out of funds before the branding job is finished, it will be partly your fault for not warning that client beforehand.

Just The Right Time

Brand identity matters much more for established businesses, who have developed their product offerings, built a sustainable revenue stream, and now want to really target their niche with an eye-catching, memorable brand. Putting brand identity before business development is jumping the gun, and very risky. Yes, it can work out well, but most of the time it’s a waste of money.

Designing For Designers

When a business is truly ready for a rebrand, it can be a beautiful thing. A strong brand can revitalize a business and open up a world of opportunities to connect with customers that your clients may not have even knew existed. But good brand identity design doesn’t only help the business itself make money. It also aids the design community as a whole.

Beautiful brand designs help inspire better design across the entire industry by helping other designers aspire to create better work for their own clients. So do take on those entrepreneurial clients, but make sure the time is right to do so.

In Conclusion

Branding design is an essential part of staying competitive, especially in today’s highly visual world. There’s no question that brand designers have our work cut out for us in sorting through those clients who actually need a rebrand, and those who are making their road to profitability that much harder by hiring us.

Be kind to these new (typically young and naive) founders and don’t take their money. Instead, give them the service they truly require from you right now: sound business advice.



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