Gen Z wants 'authentic' social media

24 October 2014

PALO ALTO, CA: Current social media are failing to meet the needs of young US Millennials for authenticity and a separate space from parents and employers a new survey has revealed.

The Youth and Online Habits study was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Camp Mobile, an app developer owned by South Korean portal Naver, among 812 respondents aged 13-22. This found that four in five respondents felt people their age shared too much information online.

But most (69%) thought their peers were only "being themselves" a small amount of time, while a broadly similar proportion (63%) admitted they sometimes had a hard time reading "fluff" their friends posted. There was a widespread desire (57%) for greater authenticity in these communications.

The possibility of parents or older relatives seeing material they had posted was an inhabiting factor for 44% of respondents, while 31% took a longer view and worried about the effects of a potential employer viewing it.

Consequently, around two in five (39%) felt unable to be their real self on social media while one third (36%) lamented not having a place where they could express their "real self" online.

"This new research survey supports our theory that there's a cultural shift underway, being driven by Generation Z," said Doyon Kim, General Manager of Camp Mobile. "It shows a preference for online authenticity and more private group spaces to selectively share different information with various subsets of their diverse work and personal lives."

"The moving trend away from auditorium-style social networks to more private group spaces shows there is a real need for a different type of social network and messaging platform," he added.

This conclusion was given added weight by other survey findings: most young Millennials were spending as much (39%) or more (35%) time on social media as a year ago; but two-thirds of respondents said they were sharing less.

"This change in the way the younger generation share information with their peers will affect the popularity and continued use of a variety of social media networks," Kim stated.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff