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Why are teenagers abandoning social media sites?

It’s a simple trend. As social and entertainment media increases, attention span and message effectiveness decreases. Instagram and Pinterest are so popular because as the old cliche says, “a picture says a thousand words” — in seconds.

“Old” forms of social media e.g. Facebook and now Twitter involve both writing and reading. Two annoyingly time consuming tasks for the overly stimulated and caffeinated youth. The generation currently in their teens expect to passively absorb short blasts of data in a visually stimulating form. This unstoppable trend makes traditional marketing and advertising increasingly difficult, especially for complex or non-intuitive products.

Today’s effective advertising has to be extraordinarily memorable. The AT&T ads with children saying the “darndest things” are cute, hilarious and easily repeatable. The Cheetos and Heineken ads which depict quick scenes of vividly colored weirdness accomplish the same goal by unhinging the comfort of the viewer.

This deviation from traditional marketing creates an upside for small business entrepreneurs — Weirdness and hilarity in short blasts don’t necessarily create insurmountable costs.

Due to the scarcity of resources during the brief decline in the American economy, guerrilla and grassroots marketers became experts at creating this type of ad for mere pesos. The creatives who were once masters of street level advertising can now be elevated to the corporate boardrooms to lead the thinking on how to capture a new generation.

We are in an exciting time. The creative idealistic Davids now have a fighting chance against the traditional cronyistic Goliaths. May the best mind win.

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