Debunking the stereotype
If it feels like your parents are on social media a lot more than you are, you could be right.
It turns out Generation X, not Millennials, are the most obsessed age group, spending 39 more minutes a week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms than their younger counterparts.
Hit ’em with the research
According to data collected by Neilsen, Generation X, a cohort of people loosely defined as being currently between the ages of 35 and 49, spent about 7 hours a week on social media, followed closely by Millennials at 6 hours and 20 minutes.
Americans over the age of 50 spent about 3 hours less per week.
This of course goes against everything we’ve been told about who uses social media the most and bunks the stereotype that young people are glued to their phones and devices. Even Sean Casey, the president of Nielsen’s social division, said the finding was surprising because “the going thought is that social is vastly owned by the younger generation.”
What does this really show us?
The results are of course limited because social media usage does not necessarily correlate directly to device usage. I am 23, and a good chunk of the time I spend on my phone is to text, not use a social media site or app.
The study looked at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Snapchat and LinkedIn, which only make up a portion of anyone’s time spent online.
There is also the fact that my generation may be more social media savvy, and writing a Tweet and reading through my feed could simply take less time than older Americans. Or, maybe it is relevant that platforms prefered by younger users, like Snapchat, may simply be less time consuming than platforms with older users, like Facebook.
A forgotten people group
The study also doesn’t touch on anyone under 18, who may be part of the most social media obsessed generation ever.
In 2015,CNN reported that teens spend about 9 hours consuming media on an average day, which would amount to an eye-popping 63 hours per week.
In their report, that number was much higher than all older generations, so it’s likely teenagers are spending more time on social media, too.
Take it with a grain of salt
Categorizing Millennials as one cohesive group also has flaws, specifically when discussing social media usage. I first joined Facebook when I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school. A 33-year-old millennial may have joined at 24, after graduating college. It’s hard to argue that our experiences with the website are comparable and our usage tendencies will be the same.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Millennials use social media less than Generation X.” quote=”While this report was certainly surprising upon first read, it loses some spark when you realize the missing nuance from that selling-point headline that millennials use social media less than Generation X.”]
It’s a fun finding to have, but barely feels revolutionary and whether you’re a millennial, Gen Xer, Baby Boomer or a teen, you may want to think twice before sharing.