By an Anonymous User of Quora.
These are my observations of my high school as of this writing. I say this because I think it is worth noting that, amongst the majority of the high school, this list tends to change vastly in a rather short amount of time.
- Instagram, though, has had a long shelf life at my school and shows no signs of disappearing. This app is simply how my classmates and I take pictures now.
- Draw Something (I am sure this is no surprise) recently took all of my fellow students with smartphones by storm. Within a matter of days, it was the only game I heard people talking about regardless of the fact there are dozens of games on the majority of these people's phones. This is the app that overtook the previous hit game, Scramble with Friends, which overtook the also wildly popular game Temple Run.
- Tumblr is being talked about more and more. I know few people who spend time generating their own content on their personal pages, but rather follow well-known pages and reblog content.
- iPad 2 is still a hit, and I don't see this changing any time soon (I have yet to see one tablet other than an iPad at my school, and no we do not do the iPad Pilot Program). Interestingly enough, the majority of students with iPads enjoy using them for seemingly non-academic activity (not taking advantage of it as a portable and light text book -- I still think there is lots of potential here) although they are brought to school every day and usually are on the students' desk.
- Twitter, like Tumblr, is growing, but still has a long way to go, at least in my American high school where the go-to social network is, indeed, Facebook. People at my school first learned about Twitter, unfortunately, as a "website to see what everyone is doing at every waking second." Boring! Although this is what my Facebook feed has become while my Twitter feed is full of links to fascinating things and hilarious bits. However, as more students are signing up for Twitter, more (slowly) want to become a part of this network and end up joining. Again, this growth is quite slow in my school as most are uncomfortable trying networks outside of Facebook and see other, unfamiliar sites as distractions.
- Vimeo is being used more and more over YouTube, as people realize the generally higher level of quality of video on Vimeo. That said, you can't find (illegally filmed off a TV) footage of Family Guy on Vimeo, so many still resort to YouTube as a source for quick laughter. On the flip side, quality Vimeo shorts spread like wildfire once one comes across them, unlike what happens when someone finds a parody of "Friday" on YouTube (they maybe share it with a few friends vs. telling everyone about the awesome GoPro flying ad they saw on Vimeo).
- SparkNotes is one that I just noticed recently, and is not being used as a website to clarify a line or two, but rather a site to replace reading altogether -- a problem for the kids like me who struggle through reading Shakespeare and take the same tests and quizzes they do. And also worth noting: I don't think that the group who uses this website heavily has increased dramatically over the school year. Most teachers frown upon it because they know some students use it instead of reading, and I'm thinking this deters other students who would use it as a tool to complement their reading and confirm they understand certain parts correctly (some teachers ban it all together, and while they can't enforce it at home, it is a deterrent for me).
- Reddit has grown immensely and lots of people use the funny site as a source of finding hilarious pictures and gifs. It is not blocked at my school and is usually what people look through if they have five or ten minutes, each of their hilarious discoveries getting everyone talking for around ten seconds. People don't browse Imgur directly, but this seems to be the main source of the most talked about content on Reddit.
- Memes, most found in the Memebase, make a more lasting impression. It is hard to follow a conversation if you do not know certain memes, as many references are made in a short amount of time. While memes in general have been (and I see continuing to be) long lasting, the actual memes themselves have a shelf life of about a week (high expectations Asian father seemed to cause a lot of talk last week). Particular memes, though, stick with many and are brought up often.
- Skype has suddenly become the way to chat (I think as people began to get frustrated with Facebook's instant messaging service they switched over to Skype, taking advantage of the prominent video feature). I went from a handful of contacts on Skype to dozens in a matter of weeks (although I am no longer an as-active user). Video chat soon became the way lots of kids enjoyed studying, and was even used by my teacher during a math class -- he was sick so Skyped in from his home to go over practice problems with us.
- StumbleUpon has been a huge hit for quite a while and there are no signs of this changing. Lots of students use it on their own time but quite a few also use it at school when they can, enjoying browsing their stumbles with their friends who have similar interests.
- One that took me by surprise was eBay. It is also only actively used by a handful of kids, but I have heard many times how "cool" it is to bargain with people on eBay and how "cool" it is to sell their stuff (I am not in this group and think that it could be made easier).
- Xcode, interestingly enough (although first appeared in the high school just a year-and-a-half ago). Again, few -- although growing very very slowly -- bother trying to make an app themselves, but those who do get anything in the App Store get praise and amazement from their peers who think it is really impressive. The iOS app store is the market, though, that people code for; I am only aware of one person who codes for Android and only a handful of people who have made a live website. Unfortunately, there are no signs of those groups growing as many students see it as very daunting and time consuming, although the practice is also seen as impressive by many.
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