Number of Facebook users decreases among underclassmen

Kaelin Kragh

Living in a society where technology is constantly progressing, it’s only natural for social networks that were once on the rise, such as Facebook, to begin to fade amongst incoming grades at Redwood.

Although Facebook is currently the biggest social networking website in the world, according to a 2014 Global Web Index survey, it was the only website to decline in the number of regular monthly users out of the eight largest social media sites.

Teenagers still use Facebook, but the social networking services of choice are now Instagram and Snapchat, according to senior Jaclyn Alvarado. These apps, which launched in 2010 and 2011 respectively, are likely part of the reason why Facebook use is gradually declining.

Although Facebook usage is decreasing among Redwood teens, it is more common to find senior students with an account because the site was far more popular when they were in middle school, according to Alvarado.

“Facebook was a big thing when we were in middle school and at the beginning of high school, but now it’s definitely beginning to lose its popularity,” Alvarado said. “Sometimes I’ll scroll through my feed, but I never post anythingI mainly use Snapchat or Instagram.”

In a recent Bark survey, 71 percent of students reported that they perceive the amount of Facebook use among their peers to have dropped within the last six months. 

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Given that students feel there is a decrease of Facebook use among their peers, it discourages them to create an account, according to freshman Anna Compagno.

“If I got a Facebook, there would not be a lot of use for me, because a majority of my friends don’t have an account,” Compagno said. “I wouldn’t be able to friend anyone.”

Compagno’s feelings demonstrate a trend among the freshmen class.

A recent Bark survey reported that 62 percent of freshmen do not have a Facebook account while 34 percent of sophomores, 31 percent of juniors and 10 percent of the seniors do not have Facebook accounts.

Facebook was launched before Snapchat and Instagram in 2004, so Compagno was not old enough to have an account of her own during the peak of its popularity which was in 2012, according to Pew Research.

Today’s technology is as advanced as it’s ever been, and as a result, high school students today are growing up in a time where smartphone apps are extremely prominent, according to Pew Research.

“As I got older, more and more [smartphone] apps came out,” Compagno said. “I just decided to never get a Facebook because I had other [social media] accounts.”

The decline in Facebook use has also affected the way in which Link Crew communicates with the freshmen.

During this year’s freshmen orientation, Link Crew coordinator Katie Slattery said that she needed to come up with new ways for Link Crew leaders to interact with the incoming freshmen class, because she noticed a sharp decline in the number of students who have a Facebook account.

Link Crew leaders found that other social media apps sufficed as alternate ways to communicate with the freshmen class.

“The Link Leaders used to make Facebook groups with the freshmen,” Slattery said. “Now we’ve found that using mainly group text messaging or Instagram to send out reminders for meetings and activities is working better.”

According to a Bark survey, 45 percent of students created their account while in middle school.

However, 18 percent of students have deleted their Facebook account since then.

Although Alvarado seldom uses her account, she said that she would never delete it, because it is a key resource to hold onto memories.

“My mom is always showing me pictures of herself in high school that someone tagged her in. [She] is now able to reconnect with someone that she hasn’t talked to in 20 years, which I think is really great,” Alvarado said. “But technology is constantly changing, so I think social media sites that I use now could be completely different to what I’ll actually use [in the future].”