This blog post is from my talk on Tuesday which was centred around why your parents consume more social media than you. Yes, you read that right, if you are a 35 years old and younger (Millennials, or generation Y if you prefer), while your parents are 35-49 (Generation X, or Echo Boomers), then your parents actually consume on average more social media than you do per week.
- Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media networks
- Compared with 6 hours 19 minutes for the younger group
- While adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on the networks: an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week.
These are very surprising statistics, especially when you consider that generation Y also has a increased access to 24/7 social media through smart phones than Generation X.
- Access to smartphones:
- 97 percent of people 18 to 34
- 94 percent of people 35 to 49
- 77 percent for those 50 and older
(2016 NIELSEN SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT SOCIAL STUDIES: A LOOK AT THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE)
Generation Y had a higher likely hood to have 24 hour access to social media than generation X, yet spent less time doing so? What could explain this? Well, in short, narcissism. It is well known that generation Y takes a lot of flak for being the “generation me”. However, a meta analysis (Roberts et. Al. 2010) has proven that this is not true, and that every generation is a “generation me” with no statistical increase in narcissism in generation Y.
Yes, your parents generation might be more prone to narcissist personalities than your generation . Previous research found that narcissism was positively related to levels of social activity and intentions of self-promotion; that is, the more narcissistic a person was, the more he or she was likely in interact with other people in the online community, and the more he or she would be likely to post-self-promoting content (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008). The study also found no generational differences in using Facebook and blogs as a means to satisfy social needs or the need for affection. It is well known that generation Y takes a lot of flak for being the “generation me”
Narcissism is first of all a personality. According to Campbell and Foster (2007):
“narcissism is a quality of the self that has significant implications for thinking, feeling, and behaving. Individuals with narcissistic personality possess highly inflated, unrealistically positive views of the self. Often times, this includes strong self-focus, feelings of entitlement, and lack of regard for others. Narcissists focus on what benefits them personally, with less regard for how their actions may benefit (or harm) others” (Campbell and Foster, 2007)
This raises interesting questions about generation X’s increases consumption of social media. Is this increase solely due to a increased narccistic social tendencies? Well, yes and no, there are other reasons for why individuals use Social Media. Factor analysis results showed that content generation using social media was satisfying five socio-psychological needs: showing affection, venting negative feelings, gaining recognition, getting entertainment, and fulfilling cognitive needs (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008). Narcissism is just easier to measure than many other cognitive differences, and has been directly linked to Social Media usage through many studies. Overall the amount of studies conducted on this topic is rather insufficient, and is definitely something that needs to be looked into more to understand how social media will effect future generation to come.
- (Campbell and Foster, 2007)
- (Buffardi & Campbell, 2008)
- (Roberts et. Al. 2010)
- (2016 NIELSEN SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT SOCIAL STUDIES: A LOOK AT THE SOCIAL LANDSCAPE)