October 25

One Millennial’s Social Media Retrospective (And What it Means For You)

By Danielle Gillette

The release of Myspace’s video showing off its flashy new design last week got me thinking about how much social media has changed since the days of the old Myspace. My friends and I were just old enough to have caught the tail end of Myspace, back when we were 14 and Myspace was the cool place to be on the internet. Though in retrospect, a bunch of 13 and 14 year olds hopping onto the bandwagon probably made it much less cool.

When I got to high school, Facebook was the social media site, and if you didn’t have a profile by graduation, you quickly got one so you could stay in touch with everyone. Thanks to the timeline style profiles, I can tell you exactly what my friends and I used to use Facebook for: we were having a lot more conversations via wall posts, and we used to be really into “bumper stickers” and that app that looked like a corkboard where you could send buttons back and forth to your friends.

Now, when I asked several classmates how they use Facebook, the most common answer I got was “I don’t really post much, but I like to creep on other people.” It’s true for me – I rarely post status updates on Facebook, but I spend time there catching up on what my other, more active, friends are doing. At this point, it’s more force of habit than anything else that keeps me checking my newsfeed.

That’s not to say some of my friends don’t use Facebook – my photographer friend from high school posts some of her projects on there, I have a friend who posts weekly videos of himself playing the piano, and my friends who write articles for blogs usually link to their posts to get more readers.

My 17-year-old sister and her friends (the newer side of the social media generation) use Twitter like it’s the new Facebook. They post their thoughts throughout the day and share photos though their linked-up Instagram accounts. My friends and I aren’t quite so active on Twitter; we just like reading tweets from our favorite celebrities and musicians. Twitter has become a place for me to get news about the things I’m interested in, like when my favorite singer will be in Boston or what day my favorite TV show will have its season premiere.

Pinterest and Instagram are the two fastest growing social media platforms right now. A comScore reportshowed that Instagram was used more frequently and for longer by users than Twitter last month, and Pinterest has gone from a small user base to being the third most popular social network in just two years (source). While I may not be on Pinterest or Instagram, my sister and her friends love both platforms. They have their Instagrams linked to their Twitters and pin clothes, inspirational quotes, and cute wedding-themed pictures on their Pinterest boards.

So what about my relationship with brands on social media? Well, for the most part, my friends and I don’t follow brands on Facebook or Twitter. However, my coupon-clipping roommate does like several dozen brands on Facebook because they offer exclusive coupons and deals. I think that’s something pretty universal throughout my peer group – we have to get something out of liking a brand’s page or following their Twitter account. What that “something” is all depends on your audience; I’d follow a brand on Twitter if they tweeted funny things a lot, and my roommate would like a brand’s Facebook page for a free sample or for 10% off their latest product.

It all comes back to content, and you have to be willing to adapt to the changing world of social media. For all we know, in the next two years every platform we use now could be down in the cyber-graveyard with the old Myspace and the AIM chat rooms and we’ll be using something even newer. If you want to reach people on social media, you have to be ready to change along with them.

How have your social media habits changed over the last few years? Do you think the new Myspace will become a major platform again? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @BlueWaveBuzz!