Gen Z vs Millennials: Social Media
August 2022

By Jennifer Green

If you scrolled through social media a few years back, chances are your favourite musician, model or influencer would have given you a sneak peek into their plush hotel room, a perfectly shot (dairy milk) latte next to a coffee table book or an overexposed flat-lay.

However, when opening a social app today you’re more likely to see a random car number plate, a flash-on-pic of a Maccy-D’s takeaway or an extreme close-up of a glass of vino. So, what happened?
Enter: Social media’s peak ‘ugly’ Gen Z era  

Instagram feeds have been looking purposefully unpolished for a while now – among both celebs, influencers and online users alike. Long gone are the days of breakfasts fed through the VSCO app or a sunset flattened through an Instagram filter. Instead, social media users – specifically Gen Z – are attracted to unfiltered content mirroring the authentic chaos of everyday life.

So, how can we create social media content that doesn’t alienate OG Millennials who are still looking for their daily dose of cheugy? According to a viral article, Millennials are aging out of the internet and the biggest evidence is in the “Millennial pause.”  

The term Millennial pause was first coined in a TikTok about Taylor Swift. TikTok user @nisipisa stitched a TikTok with Swift, enthusiastically exclaiming that not even the popstar is immune to the cringe-inducing pause; by which she was referring to the split-second moment that Millennials take before speaking in a TikTok. Presumably, this is a habit that’s been filtered down from inexperience of self-recording.

And Gen Z are loving the cringe. There’s a whole genre of TikTok dedicated to Gen Z roasting Millennial internet mannerisms. Parodies of how Millennials story tell, behave on live feeds or use Gen Z slang. Even Millennial tics such as using GIFs as reactions and turning social media bios into lists have reached cheugy status (guilty as charged).  


So, is social media still relevant for Millennials? 

Of course! Let’s be clear: Gen Z don’t own the social media domain. There is indeed light at the end of the app for those aged 25 and over. 

Accept that each generation holds a different identity on social and social holds a different purpose for each generation. Take a look at wildly popular TikTok accounts like @grandma_droniak or TikTok grandpa @poppopbrucejohnson who demonstrate just that. The secret to social media content creation is staying true to your own unique voice and being authentic, be that brand or individual. And if that means posting a filtered sunset pic then you do you. 



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