Aurora Magazine

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What’s Your Social Media Flavour?

Published 14 Jun, 2021 02:33pm
The social media preferences of different generations.
Photo: Gregory Grinnell/Northeastern University
Photo: Gregory Grinnell/Northeastern University

As of 2016, according to Internet Live Stats, approximately 40% of the global population has an internet connection; compared to 1995 it was less than one percent. Moreover, Statista says that “there are more than 2.62 billion social media users around the world and this number is expected to grow to three billion by this year.”

I was interested to find out about where these platforms lie in the popularity race and who uses them. First things first: The categorisation of internet users according to Kasasa is as follows: Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Generation Y/Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1997-2015).

Created in 2004, Facebook started as a social networking service for university students; today it is rare to find an internet user who does not have a Facebook account, and according to Facebook Investor Relations, Facebook has 2.8 billion users as of December 2020 and is by far the most popular application compared to Instagram and Snapchat. Facebook is used most by Baby Boomers (93%), with Generation X a close second (88%) and Millennials (87%), as per The Manifest 2018 Consumer App Survey. As one of the first applications to come out, it has wider appeal among older age groups and users who may be less technologically savvy.

The second giant is YouTube. According to YouTube Demographics, outside of China, 77% Gen Zers, 75% of Millennials, 61% Gen Xers, and 44% Baby Boomers visit the site daily. YouTube meets most users’ needs for information, exercise, tutorials, shows and entertainment, making it popular among all generations.

Instagram, which is primarily a photo sharing app is most popular with Millennials and Generation Z. According to Statista, 33% of its users are aged 25 to 34 followed by 18 to 24 year olds at 29.8%.

Research also shows that Snapchat and TikTok are more popular among Millennials and Gen Z users as they are more inclined to new apps and are drawn towards apps that involve visual content: (videos and pictures and which do not) involve a lot readable content.

Applications such as WhatsApp that allow easy and free messaging for users are used across the board because of their ease in communication and forming chat. According to the Global Web Index, Millennials are the most frequent users of WhatsApp, with 54% using the app on a daily basis; followed by 51% of Generation Z users 48% of Generation X users and 36% of Baby Boomers.

However, social media applications as a global phenomenon have managed to reach users of all generations recreating and impacting socialisation, consumption of entertainment, and the way in which business and trade is conducted.

Sana Ahmad Safdar is a graduate in Communication, Culture and Information Technology and a freelance writer.