My Reaction to New Study Showing Gen Z are Taking Breaks from Social Media

Today I woke up and scrolled through my Twitter finding an article on PR Week, titled “Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds,” written by Oliver McAteer. The article sums up a study that was conducted that showed many of Generation Z, those born between the mid 1990’s to early 2000’s, are either quitting social media (34%) or taking a break from it (64%). The study showed that 41% stated social media makes them anxious or depressed and 29% feel it hurts their self-esteem. Yet, 71% also said the good outweighed the bad. Of the positive aspects, 71% feels it has a positive impact on friendships, and 61% feel it has a positive impact on their self-confidence.

Some factors listed for the causes for quitting or needing a break from social media include wasting too much time, wanting more privacy, too much negativity, and not being interested in content.

PR professionals and companies should be aware of these findings, considering Gen Z is the largest population segment, making up 26% of the population (Sterling).

The findings don’t come as a surprise to me. More and more often, I go on my Facebook feed and see multiple posts stating “Taking a break from Facebook” or “I am now deleting my account. Reach out via phone”. Looking through the lists of causes in the study, I personally, can relate to wasting too much time, too much negativity and not interested in content. For a long time, I got to a point where I found I was not interested in what posts I was seeing and how much negativity was on my feeds. I finally took the time to weed through my friends, delete many “friends”, and follow social media accounts of topics I actually wanted to see.

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I think this is a big lesson that marketers can learn from. Making sure you are using the platforms that target your audience, and those that want to see what you are offering and posting. Building relationships with individual accounts and actually commenting back can make users feel as if you are actually invested in the relationship, and value what they are saying. Make sure that the time you are spending on the platform is worth it!

Take the time to create valuable content and that it is information your audience wants to know and learn. I don’t think the problem is people are wasting too much time being on social media, but they feel like this because they are wasting too much time looking at posts on social media that they don’t learn, care, or benefit from.

If you’re not sure what exactly your network wants to learn or see from you, ask them! Conduct a survey or a Facebook Poll. Take the time to ask so that you are not wasting your time later on. Stop trying to market to potential consumers, and start taking the time to satisfy your existing ones. If they are happy, they can be your biggest source of gaining new ones.

SOURCES

     McAteer, Oliver. 9 March 2018. Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds. PR Week. Retrieved at: https://www.prweek.com/article/1459149/gen-z-quitting-social-media-droves-makes-unhappy-study-finds

Sterling, Greg. 17 July 2017. Move over millennials, Gen-Z now the largest single population segment. Marketing Land. Retrieved at: https://marketingland.com/move-millennials-gen-z-now-largest-single-population-segment-219788