The social media generational gap

Your age says a lot about the kinds of social media you are (or aren’t) using. For example: older people are on Facebook now, a concept that wasn’t true a decade ago. Every millennial knows that older people have embraced Facebook (your parents are probably on it now too), but that doesn’t mean that younger people are leaving Facebook or completely foregoing social media altogether. Not at all they’re just changing apps.

Snapchat has had an ENORMOUS surge in the past two years. With at least 150 million daily active users it’s here to stay — and there’s a reason why millennials are attracted to it.

In a world where Facebook has started to feel a little bit like Facebrag (new job, new relationship, new car), it’s refreshing to have something like Snapchat. There’s no need for perfection — it’s right now, what you’re doing and as goofy and as real as possible. No need to edit or filter yourself (unless it’s with the cute dog filter), the way that you would on Facebook. What with parents and employers being on Facebook, it seems almost necessary to make the move to Snapchat, to avoid embarrassing ‘chats’ regarding your behaviour. In 24 hours your posts are gone and done. You choose what you want to see and what you want seen.

But for those of us wanting less disposable media there’s still Instagram and, even with algorithmic changes and sponsored posts (advertising run through Facebook and often looking thoroughly out of place with the rest of your IG timeline), Instagram has 300 million monthly users. In a bid to keep up with fast video chat apps like Snapchat, Instagram has also introduced longer videos — from the original 10 seconds you can now post anywhere from 3 seconds to a minute.

The intellectuals and news-mongers are still glued to Twitter. However, there’s been a big decline in users in 2016, something that the app hasn’t seen before. With Facebook able to now show trending topics and people getting news stories from Snapchat, it’s little wonder the app (not known for being visual, and only introducing a GIF button in 2016) is losing users.

But social media is not just limited to personal connections. LinkedIn is also a social media platform — and one with a surprising generational bond. Millennials and Gen Y are looking to be endorsed and validated by older generations far more than any other platform to prove their credibility in the working place.

So maybe we can bridge the gap between generations after all.

Originally published at on July 27, 2016.

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