When it comes to tech trends, there are always new devices, new memes and new phone apps on the horizon. It can be hard to keep up with the constant innovation. Fortunately, there are ways to stay ahead, like reading trending topics on Facebook or Twitter, checking the latest tech news every so often or just chatting with teens and college kids about what they’re into.
If it still seems like your tech-savvy friends or phone-obsessed teens speak a different language (aka: in emoji), here’s a quick primer on the hottest new phone apps and tech trends that the younger generation is into right now.
The social media landscape is always changing
Snapchat’s been around a few years now, but it still reigns supreme with the younger generation. Teens use Snapchat to communicate with their friends almost constantly, augmenting its direct-message feature with instant snapshots of their face or their environment. Teens also love Instagram — lately, more and more are creating locked “finsta” accounts. What’s a finsta? It’s a private account, separated from your main Instagram feed, where you can post friends-only jokes and photos to a smaller audience.
Facebook is still widely used, especially for event planning and its Messenger phone app, but teenagers are far less likely to consider it their primary social platform.
What new apps are teens using?
So far, this summer’s hottest app is Sarahah for Apple and Android (suitable for ages 17+). Sarahah is an anonymous “ask” app similar to Curious Cat and ask.fm (both still popular themselves). It works with Snapchat and allows users to submit anonymous questions and answers to others in their network. It’s become incredibly popular with young users, rocketing to top spots in app stores. Parents, take note of Sarahah’s 17+ age restriction and make sure kids don’t have age-inappropriate apps on their phone. Check out our guide to have a conversation with your teen about the do’s and don’ts of social media.
Other popular new phone apps include Musical.ly, a music-video maker, and Frontback, a camera app that lets you simultaneously take a selfie and an outward-facing photo, so you can include an instant reaction pic with whatever you’re capturing on your new Smartphone.
There’s a meme for everything
Anyone who’s been online lately is familiar with memes, the repurposed photos and joke formats that make their way around Facebook feeds and office e-mail chains. But it can be hard to keep up with all the newest and funniest. If the constantly shifting deluge of new memes has you feeling like Arthur’s Fist or even just Confused Math Lady, brush up with the site “Know Your Meme”, which helpfully explains the latest and greatest internet slang. Just a few minutes will have you feeling like Cosmic Brain.
Still lost? Check back with U.S. Cellular for more tips and explanations on the latest tech trends, or check out the new and used cell phones available if you’re ready for a change.