Social Media Through the Eyes of Generation Z
Guest Blog from an Actual Gen Z’er, Jessi Adler
Born sometime between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Generation Z is a demographic that’s understood by almost no one, including ourselves. Although some of us were born into a world where the Internet was in its infancy, our generation is sandwiched between the generation that had to learn to use the Internet and one that has never known life without it. The Internet was introduced to the world about the same time we were, so that means that as we took our first steps, so was the Internet; email, for example, was JUST taking the world by storm.
When we started school, the Internet gave us educational games. Now we are starting our adult lives as the smartest we’ve ever been, and our friend the Internet is right by our side, getting smarter and smarter every day.
Because we’re not afraid of the World Wide Web, Generation Z tends to see it and its capabilities differently. For example, there is a large, and noticeable gap between older and new generations when it comes to social media. Only a portion of Baby Boomers use social media, and those that do, mainly stay on Facebook.
Generation X’ers are trying to adapt, many have Facebook, a few have Instagram and/or Twitter, but sometimes its a guessing game as to what they are doing, their IT Help Desk is their kids. This is completely not the case when it comes to Generation Z. Our world practically revolves around Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and so many other social media platforms. However, it’s not just the time we spend using them that sets us apart, it’s also HOW we use them.
Not only are new generations more savvy when it comes to social media, but we tend to express ourselves differently depending on which account we are using, tailoring content to fit the image we want to portray on that account. For example:
When Generation Z uses Facebook, many of us display ourselves as our parent’s dream child, getting good grades, going to great schools, hanging out with the family, volunteering, being star athlete, and exploring the world without getting too crazy. We are friends with our family, old teammates, and neighbors, some co-workers from that Summer internship, and maybe a few former teachers, a random mix of people that we may or may not really care about. We don’t spend too much time on Facebook, usually just enough to show the world we have life under control, to see Grandma’s recent golf trip, be poked by someone you didn’t even know we were friends with, and watch a few dozen cute animal videos.
This photo-driven app is a little more relaxed that Facebook. Typical Generation Z Instagram users follow tech savvy family members that have accounts, almost all of our friends, a few semi-famous people that are only famous because they are pretty, and maybe the more interesting contingency of our Mom’s friends. Instagram for Generation Z is all about doing cool, exciting things and getting “spontaneous” pictures (even though our friend probably risked life and limb to get that “natural” angle and light). The goal is to show people that you have life under control, and making the times you lose control, photogenic.
The fast pace and restricted word count aren’t the only things that makes Twitter the Cliff Notes of social media. This is where the sarcastic wide-range of personalities that flood our screens comes to life. In a Universe filled with humor, the Twittersphere is where the true nature of Generation Z comes out. It is all about being funny and relatable to the average young millennial or Gen Z. With primarily close friends as our audience, we feel more comfortable saying what we really mean; and just might have to run away from home if our parents took a peek at our Twitter. Unlike the other two social media platforms, for Generation Z, Twitter is all about embracing the truth; the actual fact that we have no idea what is going on or exactly what we are doing.
So there you have it, Generation Z has many faces; we’ll happily show them to you, but make sure you’re following us on any and all apps so you don’t miss our new favorite cat video.