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  • Writer's picturePaul Steven - Jennings

Social Media - all grown up

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter walk into a bar, Snapchat and Tiktok are in the kids area sucking down a milkshake, LinkedIn is outside hustling a valet gig and MSN is curled up around a suspicious looking brown paper bag in the gutter.

Ok, admittedly not the finest opening punchline but social media upheavals are so frequent and often so violent, it is difficult at times, to keep track of them, never mind finding a suitably witty, opening analogy with which to grab ever less focused eyes.

Most of my formative years were spent in the 90's, so consequently, I am a Facebook user, but these days less and less so. I started using Facebook as a means to stay connected with family as I was living and working abroad. However, in the last 5 years, I have used it more as a personal news feed than any sort of social media. I follow news sites and pages that post content that I am interested in. I very rarely comment on other peoples posts or post myself. To put that in perspective, I have made 8 posts this year, 5 of which have been in the last 4 weeks, all related to my digital transformation journey.

Where does a late 30's business professional spend his social media minutes, well, LinkedIn obviously, but I am a minority, what is really interesting is what the kids are doing.

A recent poll of the most used apps by the Gen Z population in the UK, put Snapchat in at number 1, followed by Discord and then Kik. Now be honest, how many of you have every heard of Discord? Discord is a VOIP gaming app that allows users to create servers that share content, chat functions and voice channels to support online gaming coordination. I am fairly sure we can thank Fortnite for that app ranking. More interestingly though, is the rise of TikTok, slipping in at number 5 on the same poll. What does this anecdotal evidence around app preferences tell us about the modern consumer of the future?

Well, first and foremost, they have a very short attention span, Snapchat stories and 15 second Tiktok videos do not take much focus and while that doesn't sound too promising, they are also hardcore multi-taskers and that bodes well for a future workforce that will have almost instant access to their workplace resources. Imagine an almost continuous flow of information hitting your various screens all day every day. You will be required to switch between leisure, hobbies, work and social interactions or even a varietal combination of all of the aforementioned and you will need to special kind of brain to deal with that. This is the world that the current crop of social media apps are preparing Gen Z for and more.

Digitization is upon us, Facebook, partly prepared me for it and while I approach it with the usual methodical plan that is expected of my generation, the future employees of your company are learning via trial and error, wing and a prayer, they are collaborating with complete strangers in 10 way VOIP conference rooms, while watching 2 media streams and playing a video game. We are moving away from the tried and tested and into the agile and chaotic. It uncomfortable for many, but my goodness its exciting. Now where is that milkshake I ordered.

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