27 May 2020
In accordance with Statista details the largest social media platform, which is Facebook, has over 2.6 billion active users monthly as of the first quarter of 2020. Other platforms, like YouTube or Whatsapp, have more than a billion users each. Let’s compare it with the entire population of 7.7 million people… the scale of the phenomenon is definitely visible. Yet, is a phenomenon a proper word? Most probably not anymore. No need to highlight that mobile gadgets, smartphones and the Internet surround us from all sides and they have essentially become a part of our reality. No longer they are some addition to our life but its necessary component.
Let's look around - whether you are at home, at work, on the bus, on a railway station or in a park – most probably people around hold phones, computers, tablets, headphones, or other technological gadgets closely related to the Internet.
In the past, it used to be said that digital tools are a young generation instrument. But is it true? Do currently only kiddos use those things? Despite the fact that each of us certainly has the answer, let's analyze the available data and find a reliable and objective answer to this question.
Undoubtedly, social media usage is one of the most popular online activities. Let's have a closer look at the data collected by previously mentioned Statista.
In accordance with the latest research - as of April 2020 - around 4.57 billion people use the internet. This number represents 59 percent of our global society.
We can clearly see that nearly 60 percent of the world’s population is already active in the online world. As for social media, its users have passed the 3.8 billion mark. Moreover, the latest trends suggest that more than half of the world’s total population will use social media by the middle of this year. Surprising? Theoretically not. It seems to be as natural to us as the fact that we are currently breathing. After all, for some reason, we use the term of the so-called digital fog which surrounds us from all sides and permeates life on every level.
However, when we realize the number we're talking about, it definitely is startling. Let's just look a few years back, when, e.g. in 2010, our online society had more than half the number of users less, exactly: 2.03 billion. It shows the scale of this occurrence pretty clearly.
So we definitely have no doubts if it comes to online society. But let's take a moment to think about social media itself. While it is quite obvious that the Internet is used by people of all ages, we associate Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok with young folks mostly. But is it right?
In 2019, an estimated 2.95 billion people were using social media worldwide, while statistics indicate that it is to increase to almost 3.43 billion in 2023. And presently, social media are used not for communication or self-expression needs only. Increasingly they are used as marketing tools, as they are excellent for product promotion, reaching a wider audience, and so on. Baaang. Here is the alert! It indicates that representatives of older generations with their business activities will also be interested in such functions. Well, well, well... let's just look at the number of job offers in the social media area. Social media ninja, copywriter, content creator, insta photo editor, and many similar and newer - regarding to the platform that conquers the hearts of the audience and customers. Let's not forget those who want to meet friends from years ago. The reasons for using social media are in fact extremely varied, while the age of the users is often attributed to young people only.
On the most popular internet platform, which is Facebook, the most numerous group are people aged 30-49. It's a bit surprising, isn't it? Most of us would definitely set this upper limit somewhere around thirty years. Of course, the users' age depends on each application. There are those that associate mainly high school students, others that are addressed and mainly used by people in the middle 30s, as well as others, dedicated to the generation of young grandparents.
So let's take a moment to find out which apps reign among particular generations.
All content presented online affects all spheres and many situations, phenomena, or problems. Therefore, representatives of all social groups, people with different interests, beliefs, and ages reach for different social media tools. It's worth taking a look at what it really looks like. Who uses social media chiefly, and which exactly? What is most popular among Baby Boomers, and what is the must-have for the Z generation? Let's see who loves Instagram, what age reigns on LinkedIn, and who is Pinterest the most important platform for.
Let's keep the ear to the ground!
Baby boomers, born during the post World War II baby boom, are adults aged between 50 and 64 years. These are people who haven't got access to the internet and social media until they were already well into building their careers.
Around 82% of Baby Boomers who are online, also have at least one social media account. The platforms, they are most likely to use are Facebook and Youtube which neatly split their work and personal lives. This generation is not that into other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Unlike younger generations, they don't like having multiple social media profiles. But to be more specific, let's look at some particularly social media.
The most known platform containing the entire palette of movies, vlogs, music videos, tutorials, etc. is the dominant application among Baby Boomers. In 2019, 70% of this generation were active YouTube users, and the trend was upward, so we can assume that currently, the percent of YT users in this age increased.
Facebook is one of the most popular media in this group. It allows connecting with long-unseen mates, checking up on old friends. Renewing contacts is by far the most common motivator for this group. According to data collected by Statista, as of February 2019, 68% of Baby Boomers were part of FB community. The Manifest 2019, indicates that the amount reaches even 96% of Gen X, which puts them in the position of the biggest Facebook fans.
These two platforms are the greatest hits among this group. However, Boomers are showing a huge increase in social media activity, so consequently, their number is also increasing on other platforms. Exemplary, the usage of Instagram is up 59% and WhatsApp 44% respectively for this group since 2016. It exceeds the global average twice!
Generation X, frequently described as MTV Gen, consists of people born between 1965-1980. Often it is said that they are individuals lost in the chaos of modern reality. Can it be applied to social media life as well?
Representatives of this generation quickly adopt social media, yet they did not inherit the selfie culture associated with social media mostly. They are not keen on sharing their private lives online much. Only 24% of Gen X is actually active on social media. Their main purpose while using the online world is to reach friends or colleagues. That's why their fav platform on Facebook, with both Stories and Feed altogether. Do they feel confident in the social media area? This is not a problem for them, but they are not huge fans of online livings, so - without much practice, they do not belong to specialists. But, let's just check what they are most into!
According to the data presented by The Manifest 2019 Customer Social Media Survey, 90% of this generations' SM users has a Facebook account. They use it mostly to check feed and friends' stories. As they are not big fans of sharing their lives, they are eager to check up on the others, like bosses, employees, cousins, or other relatives. They also often join some events created on FB and check other participants.
It's difficult to point out other such an important platform for this group, as FB is the clean winner. Instagram and YouTube are getting some attention, but definitely none of them wins quite as much favor. Exemplary, 58% of MTV Gen uses YouTube accounts, but they are not that active users.
Millennials were born between 1980 to 1995. It's the first generation with access to tech gadgets and social media since school. They definitely adopt network connection as the main form of communication.
Despite the fact that they still remember life without gadgets, adolescence, and those more conscious peer relationships were already built through the screen of a telephone or a computer. That's why in current reality they feel like a kid in a candy store! 72% of Millenials have reported buying fashion and beauty products based on some popular Instagram posts. It points to the importance and the fact that online platforms shape their perception of reality and firmly determine their choices. Let's see which platforms convince them the most.
No surprises, Facebook wins again. 77% of millennials favor Facebook, with all its features. They are happy to share their lives, daily photos, fav quotes, and own thoughts. They also eagerly follow friends or famous people's posts and engage in debates in the comments. One of the frequently used functions is also event creation, which is often used by this group.
As of 2020, 70% of Millenials are active Instagram users. The platform initially being a specific album, later expanded the number of options. Adding relations, highlights, easy communication, video calls. Millennials love Instagram and use all options of the offer. Yet, they note the cons of this platform, saying that social media, Instagram mostly, has caused them to overspend to impress their networks.
Right next to the two most important social media for this group, YouTube also ranks very high, especially vlogs and podcasts. WhatsApp and Messanger are their favorite instant-messaging tools. LinkedIn is also frequently used by Millenials. They know how much it can change in their careers, as HR specialists are looking for work pearls right there. Out of sentiment, they also use Pinterest, which reigned in their teenage years. Surprisingly, they didn't become infected with love for the latest hit, which is TikTok.
Gen Z is the first digital generation in world history. Individuals born after 1995 and considered the build the outstanding future of the global economy. They have never seen life without smart devices and the Internet. Immersed in the online world since birth, they are able to assimilate all the tech news very smoothly. Time spent in front of the screen exceeds all other groups, with the result of over 4 hours a day
More than 74% of Z folks state to spend their free time online. So, it is not surprising, that they are super fluent in all social media. They all love out-of-the-box brands and micro-influencers. They love diversity and some original, unusual ideas, that is why they are active users of all platforms, which are the infinite mall of dreamy visuals. So it's Instagram, Snapchat, sometimes TikTok, which is gaining more and more popularity. Therefore, let's see which apps they value most.
When the first version of Snapchat appeared in 2011, they often taught older siblings or parents how to use it. After a few years, they totally took it over. Now it is losing popularity among this group, but still, around 51% of Gen Z use Snap.
Good old TouYube appears on the list again. However, its use changes. Generation Z mostly uses YouTube to view tutorials or game streaming. They are ready to spend loads of hours staring at some make-up master or an outstanding gamer. Over 62% of Gen Z is an active YouTube user.
Obviously, this group devotes the most time to living online and is present on most portals. In their smartphones, you will find a variety of applications. They record short videos on TikTok, they love showing everyday life on Instagram and follow Tweets. Moreover, they are increasingly programming their own proprietary small apps and tools.
As we can see, each of us can find social media that suits personal needs and preferences. It doesn't depend on age and generation anymore.
Definitely, there is some group of people who shun any activity of online life, but at present, it is no longer so strongly associated with age, but more with personal preferences.
So all of you, who love to be online, let's develop social media, learn, explore, work! Do it wisely, because although it is our reality, often it is easy to get lost in such a dense technological fog!
Let's just make this juice worth the squeeze!
By Marta Luber on 27 May 2020
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