Is Gen Z Rejecting Social Media?

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At the very least, they are reshaping its future

Gen Z may not have been on the scene for long, but already they constitute a sought-after demographic who’s making their voice heard.

A Pew Research Center study revealed Gen Z is the only age group (18-29) to show a decline in their use of every social media app except TikTok since 2019 – a fact not lost on social media giants who are all scrambling to win Gen Z’s following.

Ironically, the success of TikTok as Gen Z’s app of choice has caused competitors to reimagine themselves to more resemble the frontrunner. In the course, they lose much of their original identity and appeal.

As an example, in a particularly pointed message, Kylie Jenner posted to her 360 million followers a plea for Instagram to please just be Instagram again – a place where she can enjoy fun pictures of her friends and nothing more. Emphasis: please stop trying to be TikTok.

The takeaway from Gen Z’ers seems to be three-fold. TikTok’s algorithm offers material it knows the user likes, but it will also regularly test out new kinds of videos. The viewing stays fresh with new offerings and doesn’t get repetitive unless you want it to.

A second is visual emphasis. A Google executive shared data last week suggesting around 40% of Gen Z users prefer to discover information on visual platforms other than Google, such as TikTok or Instagram.

Thirdly, Gen Z compartmentalizes their use of social media by function. They prefer Twitch for live streaming and gaming. Discord is their choice for private chat groups, BeReal for spontaneous updates, and Poparazzi for candid pics of friends. Gen Z is also concerned with online privacy and is judicious about public sharing.

What does this mean for the future of the big platforms? Is the era of social media heading into the sunset? Find out more.