Hey there, my name's Bondo Venlafaxine and I'm a typical 13-year-old teen from Toronto. I've seen a lot of adults write posts about what social media is and how people use it, but as far as us teens are concerned none of them are really telling the whole story. So here's one teen's view of how teens use social media nowadays. If you're a non-teen I think it might just surprise you.
Snapchat – As I'm sure you've heard this is the big one for us teens. On average my peers send anywhere from 40 to 50 snaps per day. But what you might not know is most kids my age are just taking pictures of a blank wall and then using the little art tools to draw an image of what they wish they were seeing. Some teens will even use the text tool to add a "caption" to the image, explaining why they're wishing so hard and whether or not they think the wish will ever come true.
Vine – The reality of being a teen nowadays is that every morning before school you're expected to take a vine of yourself making a big fat kissy face in the mirror. If it doesn't have at least 10,000 loops by the end of first period, someone writes "SLUT" on your locker in permanent marker and then you don't get to sit at the cool kids table with all the other hot shits.
Facebook – Most of my teen friends view Facebook as a place where old people go to post news articles about Colony Collapse Disorder. Some of them do have a secret Facebook account but they make sure to wear a beekeeper outfit in their profile pic so no one can tell how young they are.
Twitter – In my experience every high school has a tiny group of ultra-devoted Twitter users who love it so much that they go around carving "TWITTER DOT COM" into all the desks and chairs. The rest of us don't get it though; when we carve "TWITTER DOT COM" into all the desks and chairs we're just doing it to be random.
Yik Yak – If you've never used Yik Yak before it's really hard to explain what it is or why us teens like it. But basically picture the experience of walking through a fruit market in Tangier or Marrakech, right in the middle of summer when it's like 40° out and you've got food poisoning and you can barely see a foot in front of your face through all the dust. That's what a Yik Yak board is like, except it's all on your phone and very few people are speaking Arabic.
Kik – This is the app you use if you want to send a picture of your bare chest to some 35-year-old guy from Holland. It's understood that both guys and girls will do this but the guys usually try to have a "thumbs up" gesture (like the "thumb sticking up" emoji but performed with your actual hand) somewhere in the picture. Genderqueer kids mostly just stick to WhatsApp or Viber.
Orkut – We're always hearing adults talk about how all the teens nowadays use Orkut for everything and how we all have our own Orkut accounts and so on. But the reality is that Orkut was shut down by Google in 2014 — well before many of us were even born. A few of the older kids still talk about Orkut every day in the locker room, but they're all either undercover cops or transfer students from Brazil.
YouTube – I'll be honest. Every single teen I have ever met in my entire life loves YouTube more than they love their own parents. Me, I just don't get it. Like, what is a "video" anyway, and how is it any different from a daydream or a feeling? I think as time goes on more and more teens will start thinking exactly like I do.
GoFundMe – No teen really wants to admit it, but every one of us spends at least a couple hours a night managing and promoting our GoFundMe campaign. It's not because we're self-absorbed like some adults seem to think. It's because we love watching that little green bar tick up bit by bit by bit. One time I suggested having a big green-bar-watching party over at my house, but my friends just pushed me into a ditch and went to Wendy's instead.
Pinterest – Pinterest has a reputation as a social media site for girls. This is mostly but not entirely true.
Instagram – Nowadays you can't even walk down the hall in high school without seeing a big billboard for Instagram, or getting handed an Instagram flyer from some guy dressed up as the Instagram icon. Before class it's even common for your teacher to write "INSTAGRAM" on the board in big block letters and then point to it with a metre stick. As a result we all think Instagram is a very cool website.
Reddit – The general rule of thumb is: If you want to find out how to make a pipe bomb, you go to reddit. If you don't, you delete your reddit account and someone else will figure out how to make a pipe bomb for you. There's other stuff to do on there, of course. For example, most teens don't consider it unusual to pretend to be Cobie Smulders for an AMA and then post a bunch fucked up shit that'll get written up on the front page of Gawker. But mostly it's just a fun place to learn how to become a neo-nazi terrorist.
The Comments Section of a Margaret Wente Column – Yep, that's right. What's old is new again. More and more teens, especially those of us born after 9/11, are turning back to the comments section of a Margaret Wente column as a fun and safe place to discuss all the hot button issues of the day. For example, what do we think of Margaret Wente? What do we think of Margaret Wente's latest column? What do we think of the broader issues raised in Margaret Wente's latest column?
msn.com – Still number one, baby.
—Brendan Patrick Hennessy, 19 July 2015