Today, social media is as ubiquitous as the Internet. But young people are moving away from Facebook to other social media platforms, and more young people of color are using Twitter and Instagram.
According to Yasheaka Oakley, a PR consultant from Philadelphia, Penn. who gives social media presentations to college students, many young people of color now use Instagram, an image-based social media platform. “They (young people) are still using Facebook, but not as much,” Oakley said.
She added that many of the young people using Instagram, upload pictures “every couple of minutes.” Oakley said that Instagram is very popular for teens interested in fashion and beauty.
Oakley said that a lot of African-American youngsters use Twitter as well because it offers them the ability to follow stars and celebrities. Twitter allows users to reply and retweet messages, which offers more interactivity than Facebook, which only allows people to like statuses or pictures.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life survey, Instagram is 23 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic, and 11 percent white, while Twitter is 26 percent black, 19 percent Hispanic, and 14 percent white.
As part of her presentation, Oakley warns young people to be careful about what they post on social media sites, and pointed out that only about 25 percent of people on Facebook use their privacy setting, so their posts are visible to the entire world. Another point she made is that Google now allows some tweets to be included in searches, so young people need to be aware and careful about what they say on Twitter.
“They may not be aware that those 140 (Twitter) characters can get you into trouble,” she said, citing the case of a student at Cheyney University who was expelled and faced charges because of a tweet.
Oakley said that she gives differing pieces of advice to young people on social media. “In some cases, it’s better not to have a social media account, especially if they want to work in government.” She pointed out that companies do social media background checks that go back seven years, and college admission offices now check a perspective student’s social media.
However in other industries, it is essential to have a social media account, such as with her business. “Many employers ask employees to have these accounts,” Oakley said.
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This article is written by Manny Otiko and was originally published on YouthOnRace.org.
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