In the past two years there have been numerous discussions on social media forums about the use of social media by the younger generation. People come up with all different kinds of statistics, showing one day that teenagers, students, generation x,y, or z are not using Twitter (for example), and the next day that a different research outcome shows exactly the opposite. Very often these researches have no scientific backgrounds or methods whatsoever, and what makes it worse, is that people use these very shaky statistics to prove their point for whatever cause they want.
I wanted to share with you a few recent experiences I had with students from both Western and Eastern Europe. I had groups coming to my workplace, and I gave some guest lectures and presentations about the subject of social media. Before I started, I would always ask students if they use social media themselves. An average of only 5 to 10 % would raise their hand! Now, what an amazing outcome. One would expect a score close to 100%, right?
Interestingly enough, after this first question, I would always fire a few more questions at them: ‘Who has a Facebook account, who has uploaded a YouTube video, who uses Flickr, who shares music, who has worked with a wiki’? Well, eventually, all fingers were raised… They just told me that they were not aware of the fact that they were using social media.
Here is the thing: we, the older generation, need to make a distinction between the old media, and the new media, between 1.0 and 2.0. For these students, and most certainly for the generations even younger than them, the term social media is not relevant. They are just using the media that they know, and they are not aware of the underlying revolution. Nor do they care about the term social media.
So, I wonder what happens when I tweet the title of this blog post: students don’t use social media. It might trigger some interesting discussions. Hope people take the time to read this post, as clearly, my point is something else.