An Apathetic 16-Year-Old’s View on Social Media
An actual twenty-something interviews an actual apathetic teen and transcribes it here for you
While I found each incredibly helpful in navigating the treacherous waters of today’s young social consumer mindset, I couldn’t help but wonder — 19? 13? But what about a real, live, apathetic 16-year-old? Who is there to offer their perspective in the wake of all of these crucial and subjective write-ups of social media opinion? Luckily I have a stepbrother who fits the apathetic 16-year-old bill, and so I looked to him for help.
Below is a transcription of a real interview with an actual apathetic teen (because he doesn’t care nearly enough to write his thoughts up himself). Coming up: Facebook is pointless, Twitter is confusing, and Tumblr is “where girls go to post their feelings”.
Apathetic Sixteen-year-old: This is gonna be anonymous right?
ASYO: Can you give me a cool name?
E: Yeah. What do you want your name to be?
ASYO: Like, D’Brickashaw or something.
E: The rickashaw?
ASYO: Duh-brickashaw. Like, D apostrophe Brickashaw.
E: Okay. Yeah. So D’Brickashaw, could you tell me what some of your favorite social media platforms are?
D’Brickashaw: Could I have some bread pudding first?
E: Oh, yeah. Of course.
I then served him some bread pudding. He’s a growing boy, as he reminded me.
E: Good, yeah. Okay. So, can you tell me what you think about Facebook?
D: I don’t use it.
E: Why not?
D: It doesn’t appeal to me.
E: Why not?
D: I just don’t wanna use it. I have other things.
E: You have other things?
E: Like other social media things, or…?
E: Like, what kind of other things?
D: I have… Instagram.
E: Okay! Tell me what you like about Instagram.
D: The pictures, and stuff.
E: Okay, the pictures.
D: Um… it’s more of a like, uh, you can see what your friends are doing and stuff.
D: I don’t know. It’s not like Facebook where like, someone just posts like, “Hey, I’m at the beach, yay.” You can see a picture of the beach. And then there’s a comment that says, “Hey, I’m at the beach.”
E: What kinds of Instagram channels do you follow?
D: I follow my friends, most of the time, and I follow some YouTubers.
E: What do the YouTubers post on Instagram?
D: Uh, just like what they’re doing, what they’re recording sometimes. They’ll kinda like let you know if there’s a stream coming up. So you can kinda connect better. With those people. So it’s not like they’re just this alien being that nobody can like, come in contact with. It’s like they’re actually like an active person you can talk to.
E: Did you know that Facebook owns Instagram?
D: I did not know that.
E: How does that make you feel?
E: Yeah I’ve actually heard a lot of teenagers say similar things.
D: It’s kinda weird. Cause like I stopped using Facebook cause I thought it was like, pointless. Now I’m kinda using it again. So I’m still kinda feeding Facebook money. Huh.
E: Well, the advertisers that are trying to get into your Instagram feed are giving Facebook money.
D: Yeah, they show up in my feed. So if I like the picture, they get money?
E: Kind of. Pretty much. You see advertisers come up in your Instagram?
D: Yeah, I mean, you don’t have any control over that, like you’ll have a Coca-Cola ad come up or something, so yeah.
E: Does it annoy you?
D: Sometimes. Cause like, I don’t want that on there. I don’t follow you, Coca-Cola.
E: Okay. What do you think about Twitter?
D: I don’t have one.
E: Why not?
D: I don’t know how to make an account.
E: Do you want — like, would you want one? I can help you set one up.
D: I mean, it’s kinda cool, yeah, I don’t know.
E: Okay, we can do that later. Do your friends use Twitter?
D: I don’t think so.
E: You’re not sure?
D: Yeah I don’t know.
E: Okay, we’ll move on. What do you think about Snapchat?
D: It’s pretty cool. I like that.
E: What do you like about it?
D: I like that it disappears, like if it’s like a bad picture or something, just joking around, it’s like 3 seconds or something. But people can screenshot stuff like that. Like if you make a stupid face, or something. My friend always screenshots those. And then he posts them on Instagram.
E: Woah! Do you ever post stuff from Snapchat onto Instagram?
D: No, I don’t take screenshots on Snapchat.
E: Why not? As a matter of principle?
D: I don’t care enough.
E: Right, apathetic. Okay. Do you use Tumblr?
D: Tumblr, no. I’ve heard of it though.
E: You’ve heard of it? But you don’t really use it.
E: What have you heard about it?
D: It’s where girls go to post their feelings.
E: That’s it?
D: I don’t know.
E: Okay, what about Vine?
D: I never used it. But they’re funny, they’re really funny. A lot of them are like, really interesting, it’s like, people are comedians who do that kinda stuff. Like, it’s hard to make something funny happen in eight seconds.
E: Six seconds.
D: Six seconds?
D: I thought it was eight.
E: It’s six.
D: Wow. Huh. Crazy.
E: When you watch a Vine, where are you watching it?
D: I actually, I don’t have a Vine. I saw them all over YouTube. Cause it came up in my YouTube thing. Like people make collages of Vine stuff. That’s how I saw them. I kind of almost got a Vine cause my friends had Vine and stuff. And they posted videos of me when I wasn’t paying attention.
E: Okay, tell me about YouTube.
D: Oh I’m on there all the time.
E: What do you watch on YouTube?
D: I watch gaming videos, and stuff. My dad just got me into like a fishing guy. Like, he fishes. And records it. And posts it on YouTube. Like he fishes in the sound and stuff. So like, now I know what fish are there. And stuff. But I mostly just watch gaming videos.
E: Do you ever put videos on YouTube?
D: I’m hopefully gonna start. Soon enough. But — school takes a lotta time.
E: What do you want to start posting?
D: Probably gaming and stuff.
E: Are you gonna try to be a YouTube personality with a lot of subscribers?
D: I don’t wanna shoot for that. I just wanna shoot to make videos that people like. And make a community. Like, where everybody can connect with everybody. And make a strong, kinda like, group of people so if I like start a charity or something, all these people come together and help support this one cause because we have such a community. Yeah, that’s what I wanna make.
E: Huh. Wow.
D: I wanna make people happy. Like, YouTube videos make me happy. Like, if I’m in a bad mood I go find a funny video gaming YouTube video and it makes me laugh and I’m like “Oh, that was awesome. Now I’m happy again.” I wanna be that person for somebody else, like a person that makes people happy. Cause those people made me happy, and I wanna be that person too, because I know that that’s needed sometimes in people’s lives.
Well then. Maybe a bit less apathetic than I thought.
Thanks Social Media Week for the cover art