Facebook Faces ‘Alternatives’

A Facebook Inc. "Like" logo.

Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

A Facebook Inc. “Like” logo.

Two big findings about young Americans jump out of the #HarvardYouthPoll results reported today:

— 84 percent have Facebook accounts — up from 79 percent last fall.

— 37 percent report using Facebook less in the last year, 16 percent using it more.

The social networking site born at Harvard is fighting for face time in a crowded social media field.  Forty percent of the youngest “millennials” in the Harvard survey, those 18 to 24, say they have an Instagram account, 30 percent are on Snapchat and 17 percent on Tumblr.

The younger set is well ahead of the 25-29-year-old crowd on this front.

“The growing diversity of the social media presences reported by college-age Americans seems indicative of a less Facebook-focused social media future,” Meg Panetta and Jenny Gao write for the Harvard Political Review. “Younger millennials still gain satisfaction from Facebook, but many now make use of the increased alternatives offered by a proliferation of new sites.”

The young Americans surveyed have voiced some resistance to changes at Facebook, even as more have accounts. And “other growing social media platforms, although still far behind Facebook in influence, are benefiting from the increasingly diverse social media usage of college-age Americans.”

Which means this product may not go over so well with the younger crowd:

The poll also speaks to the political landscape facing the president’s party, which has counted on this wired generation for support.

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