Social media is an ever-changing outlet. Networking platforms have been going in and out of popularity as quickly as Kylie Jenner’s Lip Kits. Who remembers MySpace? I know I do. I would spend hours updating my MySpace layout, thinking I was cool because I knew which codes to put in to make my solid colored background into one that resembled a disco ball. Now that MySpace has phased out, the public has moved on to the more popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. I am now a senior in college, but I began using social media when I was thirteen. Middle school was all about who your top friends were on MySpace, high school was all about being “FB official” and posting funny posts on your BFF’s Facebook wall, and now in college Snapchat and Instagram are the best ways to show everyone from home how much better college is than high school.
The millennial generation has gone through their awkward phase of figuring out what the purpose of each social network is and what are the right things to post. But as my generation grows and becomes more experienced in all forms of social media, we come across some stragglers in our feeds. Guess who they are! I’ll tell you. It’s our parents.
In the beginning stages of all new social media platforms, users explore its entirety. They play with content, and post/share their creations without putting much thought into them. When Instagram first came out, pictures of food or buildings with high saturation and extremely sharp lines were all the rage. Now as Instagram users have developed more experience, artsy landscapes, candids of friends, and perfect selfies are taking over as some of the most liked photos. I went through that phase too, but hey I came out alive:
As technology and social media become the main form of communication, the older generation of users is doubling. Since they are newer to these platforms they may have not gotten past the exploration stage and will still post like millennials did back in 2012. On Instagram you may see your dad’s dimly lit photo of a drink (probably an IPA beer) or an anticlimactic picture of his backyard. The number of users age 45 and up on Instagram are significantly low compared to the other platforms. As older generations are doubling on social media, Facebook has become the leading platform for their age range. Though sometimes Facebook still isn’t their forte.
The Facebook newsfeed has changed from constant status updates and wall posts between friends to shared videos/articles and new photo album uploads. Just because status updates and wall posts aren’t as common, that doesn’t stop the older generations from letting everyone know what they think about current events or from checking in on their loved ones. Facebook is a great way to connect with those that are not in your daily life, but sometimes your family can do it in the wrong places. There was one time that I posted a picture and my aunt who lives across the country decided to ask five questions and it went a little something like this:
Hey beautiful picture! You’ve really grown up since the last time I saw you. How are you doing? How are Donny [my brother] and your parents? Have you heard that Nana is going to see Melissa [my cousin] in California? I recently moved and lost my address book. What’s your mom’s address so I can send her birthday gift? Also I saw you had a boyfriend a while back. Are you guys still together?
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I love catching up with people I haven’t talked to in a while, but all these questions on a selfie I put as a profile picture may have not been the best place to tell my aunt my mom’s address or that my boyfriend and I actually broke up.
That’s the difference between the generations. We all use the same social platforms for the same reasons, but we use them in different ways. My generation uses social media to enhance the look of our daily lives and connect with friends from classes, while the older generations connect with long lost high school friends and checks in on their loved ones.
There are some similarities though. Whether my generation is connecting with people from history class over the shared study guide on Google Docs or dad is chatting with a cousin he hasn’t seen in 20 years, we all use Facebook to talk to someone that isn’t physically there. Sharing current news and cute videos are also shared between generations. My mom loves sharing articles and videos that she finds interesting, and I do too! Facebook is generating more content than before and all ages are following the trend. So although my mom may post a long comment on an article and I may just ‘Like’ it, social media can be for everyone.
Next time you go one Facebook or any other platform where you follow a lot of the other generation, compare the content that they post to your own. Are they similar or different? Or is there a mixture of similarities and differences? Facebook or any other social media site has never sent out an official handbook on what to post or how to post, so who can say which generation is posting correctly anyway? All I know is in this age of liking and commenting, there are two types of people, likers (millenials) and commenters (parents).