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      Revealed: how Generation Alpha will use social media

      By Katie Hart     

      The differences in the way my nan uses social media (she barely understands its existence) to the way typical 18 year-olds do (their lives revolve around it), couldn’t be more stark.

      Social media innovates at dizzying pace. However, for me, what’s really fascinating are the ways different generations think about it, feel about it and involve themselves in it.

      Being a millennial, I’ve lived through the world of Bebo, MSN messenger and Myspace. I was a teenager when SnapChat and Instagram entered our lives. I can just about remember a world before social media.

      Generation Alpha will have no such recollection. They were (and are being) born into an all content-consuming world where social media has moved on from being just a website or two to share your holiday photos to a whole new world where people find news updates, build businesses, shop and a load more besides. And mainly on mobile.

      As social media has proliferated, some generations have remained hesitant. But with Generation Alpha having never known a world without it, are we about to see even more exponential growth in social?

      Who are Generation Alpha? 

      Born between 2010 and 2025, Generation Alpha is the successor to Generation Z. It’s regarded as the most technologically infused demographic and the first full generation to be born in the 21st century.

      So, it’s no surprise that, at more than eight hours a day, Generation Alpha is predicted to spend even more time on social media than Gen Z. And what they use it for during that time will differ greatly to that of previous generations, too.

      Looking at our older generations’ perceptions towards social media, privacy, truth and security emerge as the key barriers to adoption, but it is thought that Generation Alpha will be the most trusting of peers on social media. Nearly half (45%) of them will consume news on social media compared to only 18% of Baby Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). Generation Alpha are also more likely to trust reviews, recommendations and opinions they read on social media than previous generations – are we about to see even more growth in the influencer world despite predictions of it crashing?

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen social media platforms launch selling channels for businesses. Instagram has incorporated this on a large scale and Facebook offers businesses pages to sell products. As a result, it’s predicted that 28% of Generation Alpha will use social media to shop – up from just 5% of Gen Zers. What further impact will this have on the high street? Will it mean more people purchasing from independent businesses?

      There’s no sign of the social world slowing down any time soon – researchers believe that 1 in 10 of Generation Alpha will work in social media across content creation, data analysis, community management, blogging, influencing – the list goes on.

      Looking back, social media has enjoyed impressive growth but as it embeds itself deeper into our lives, so the platforms have a greater responsibility to ensure it’s a force for good. More, for example, needs to be done around fake news, trolling, fake profiles and fake reviews, etc to ensure that increasing usage does not produce diminished returns because of decreased trust.

      Let’s see how the next generation will use social media– I’m predicting it’ll be even more than Generation Alpha!

      *Research from: