Ghent University’s Lieven De Marez calls them “The Big 6”, the most popular social media platforms in Flanders. Proffesor De Marez is referring to Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube, the first four of which are all owned by Facebook. According to the study of 4,500 Flemings over the age of 16, 74% are active Facebook users. Nevertheless, the platform is losing ground especially among the young.
Professor De Marez told VRT News that "Youngsters still have Facebook, but the amount of time they spend using it is quite limited.
Facebook isn’t really a medium where people interact and communicate with each other. It has become more like a channel that you passively read and scroll through. The active, social aspect is disappearing somewhat from Facebook”.
When it comes to getting connected, communicating and interaction Instagram is the big winner among young Flemings.
"Instagram stands out as a social network and has noted the biggest growth”.
Professor De Marez adds that youngsters that use Instagram use it 5 times more than Facebook.
Smartphone is king of social media use
Snapchat appears to be in decline, especially among the young. Meanwhile, Whatapp is gaining in popularity across the age spectrum. This is linked to the growth in Smartphone use, particularly among the over 65’s. Older people with smartphones are embracing social media apps such as Facebook and Whatsapp that enable them to keep in touch with family and friends.
While the smartphone has become Flemings’ most “indefensible” tech item. TVs are now seen less and less as something we couldn’t do without. 4 years ago 29% of Flemings say that their television is the tech item they would miss most, now this is just 5%. 45% of Flemings said the same of their smartphone.