17 March 2011

Students don’t use social media

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.


  1. Was ik student geweest dan zou ik waarschijnlijk reageren met: 'lache' #whatsinaname

  2. Amechi - Business and Career CoachMarch 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Interesting point. Clear distinction between those that knowing enter the social media world and those immersed in it to a poiunt they don't even know that's what it's called. See a fair amount of this working in schools with a large number of students welded to their Blackberries. Also when out and about increasingly seeing peole walking in the streets of central London and public transport attached to their phones connected to the net, gaming, watching videos and listening to music. The increasing ineractivity and connectivity of these things is bringing making 'always on' media access the norm.

    I think for young people finding out both how social media can help them - networking, job opportunites - and hurt them - not managing their privacy settings and connections - is starting to get into their minds. Checked this out this week with a samll sample of 25 14 and 15 year olds in a school when talking about work experience and it raised the interesting question of when does you private lfe become public access - in particular prospective employers and universities.

    Will be interesting to see how this develops

    All the best

    Tweet #BizCoachAmechi

  3. Amechi, that is a great observation, and indeed the next step: 'always on' media.I can relate to your point about private and public life, as the students I met were not really aware of the fact that employers monitor their digital footprint when they apply for a job. It was a wake up call for them. Thanks for your comment.