Friday, May 30, 2014

Keeping Up

I have learned interesting facts about how tweens (and now early teens) use social media from J. The flavor of the month may go from Tumblr to Vine to Instagram without warning. Like so many migrating birds, the group leave their their current home to nest in the new one. The social routines are resumed while new norms are learned. That's about where peace and tranquility end. The worth of each person is measured by the number of followers or friends they have - the numbers are astoundingly high. A popular kid would have close to a thousand of them. 

Those lower down in the totem pole may have less than a hundred. If a kid is really worried about their social status they may choose not to have any social presence at all. But being absent is hardly an easy option. For those that are on, there is the constant pressure of keeping track of who friended and unfriended you, who followed and unfollowed you and finally how to respond to such stumuli. Everything you do on social media is some form of signalling. It is very important to get that signal right. Kids routinely delete their social media accounts and create new ones - like a new birth with new chances and opportunities. 

J like her friends is learning to navigate these treacherous waters - often confused and bewildered about where they stands and what that standing means.