Garry Tan, a tech investor and former cofounder of Posterous, recently commissioned a survey of 13- to 25-year-olds on their social media habits and found that younger users were using Tumblr far more than Facebook.
Tan used Survata, a startup, to do the survey and it's based on 1,038 respondents. Survata cofounder Aaron Wenger wrote, "Usage levels were higher among 13-18yr olds than 19-25yr olds for every social network. The biggest differences were for Snapchat (13% for 13-18yr olds vs 4% for 19-25yr olds) and Instagram (21% vs 11%)."
While some may say this signals the demise of Facebook, it really doesn't. The younger group of respondents still are on Facebook more than half of the time, but the only difference is they seem more interested in new technology like Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram than older respondents.
The survey was circulated at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, but we hesitate to take it as seriously as Tan has. There are certain regional and sex-linked behaviors (the survey was 60/40 female to male) that may skew results.
Nonetheless, it doesn't take a survey to know that a photo-sharing service such as Snapchat, which sends one-time only, self-destructing photos that can't be downloaded or sent to others, would be popular. The fear of sending lurid or goofy photos was that it would go viral and end up killing one's security clearance for a job or chance to attend a prestigious university. With that possibility taken away, one's inhibitions can be chucked out of the window.