The Digital DNA of Generation Z

The social media habis of Generation Z

Presentation from Digital Citizenship Summit, San Francisco

Sophie and I were delighted to join influencers from across the world and make our contribution to the global digital citizenship conversation by sharing the social media habits of Generation Z. We were honoured to bring our knowledge and experiences from the West coast of Ireland to the West coast of America.

Sophie Burke and Joanne Sweeney-Burke speaking at the Digital Citizenship Summit in San Francisco

Sophie Burke and Joanne Sweeney-Burke speaking at the Digital Citizenship Summit in San Francisco

Sophie and I have been developing digital citizenship courses and resources for the past four years. In this presentation we put a particular spotlight on Gen Z because we believe that this demographic are exposed to digital shock without any guidance. Our aim is to put a mature digital head on young Gen Z shoulders.

But they are a generation of distinction in a number of ways:

> They make up a quarter of the UK & US population

> Are concerned with causes and campaigns

> Seek out confidence by collaborating with like-minded peers


We truly believe they have an important role in advocating the digital citizenship culture.

Sophie and I have developed a series of educational modules for Gen Z and have delivered these face-to-face and online. We sold Young Minds Online to Kaspersky Lab and if you buy their mobile safety product you get our learning courses.

But I never get tired of speaking to Gen Z and they are craving better empowerment through education. But so are the Millennials the generation of 20 somethings. In my podcast two weeks ago I interviewed 21-year old Shofra Jey a final year economics and political science student and here’s what she had to say.

My question is: Who’s responsible for educating young minds online about digital citizenship? Because we have asked all these stakeholders. Sophie and I are pictured in our presentation slides meeting the former Minister for Education in Ireland. So this DigCit Community created by Marialice and David is both necessary and valuable. And Digital Citizenship is everyone’s responsibility.

Sophie and I have a vision for Gen Z and we believe being part of the #digcit community will help us achieve it as a collective!

> Digital etiquette taught in schools

> Gen Z evangelising digital etiquette among their peers and also among the Plurals who are coming up behind them

> Brands and decision-makers take Gen Z into the decision-making process on matters that affect them and using the social web to reach out to them

> We believe Gen Z can be the generation that spawns mass digital literacy among Generation X

> We would like to see greater data protection and appropriate cyber crime laws and in Ireland we are pushing forward this agenda.

> We believe the social networks have a very strong role to play in  preventing, reducing and punishing cyberbullying.

We are delighted to announce that the digit meeting of minds continues with a formal collaboration between our company Digital Training Institute and Dr. Marialice Curran’s Digital Citizenship Institute to roll out global programs, resources and campaigns for Gen Z & Millennials; Employers & Professionals; and Educators.

The social media habits of Gen Z

Gen Z’s social media habits have been given a spotlight following the March 2016 research undertaken by college marketing agency, Fluent.

Social media habits of Generation Z

Key findings

  • Snapchat is the app of choice for peer-to-peer communications. As you know Snaps disappear in 10-seconds and Snapchat stories delete themselves in 24-hours.
  • Despite Facebook boasting 1.3 billion active daily users Snapchat (a dark social network) has increasing channel penetration – time spent and engagement with friends.
  • YouTubers are the new celebrities and Gen Z choose Google’s video social network as their new go-to TV channel.
  • Not surprisingly Snapchat is experiencing a rapid rise in use as we see a trend in dark social activity. Unfortunately Twitter in in decline among this demographic.
  • This is a really important finding in the Fluent Research – Gen Z still prefer offline contact citing in person conversation as their top communications option.
  • Did you know that the top 4 messaging apps have overtaken the top four social networks? Get Z are migrating to dark social for private conversations while we see Gen X (like my Mum) posting more content on social media.
  • YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and it’s strength in attracting Gen Z for hours on end. 1 in 5 respondents say they spend 3+ hours on YouTube. It is a celebrity-driven channel also.
  • Facebook is trailblazing the live video experience it’s probably no surprise that video use on Facebook has increased by 53% in the last 6 months. Snapchat once again is out-performing YouTube in terms of growth – indicating that the ephemeral app with 330 million users is a go-to app for most Gen Z’ers.
  • Gen Z are spending more than 2 hours per day on social media with almost half spend more than 4 hours. Imagine their deepening digital footprint with every day that passes.
  • Research undertaken in Europe suggests that many of us log into Facebook as often as 44 times per days so these statistics for Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram aren’t surprising. Instagram owned by Facebook is one of the fastest growing social networks with 430 million users.
  • Facebook edges out Snapchat just slightly by 3% when Gen Z were asked which platform they use constantly.
  • Social media is a way of life for Gen Z and is a way for the to connect, share, express themselves, follow celebrities and stay informed on causes and campaigns that matter to them. They are ideally placed to join our social media bandwagon for digcit literacy.

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