SOCIAL NUMBERS: How Generation Z are using social media in the UK in 2022

The internet has changed everything and the pandemic has put its foot on the accelerator for those changes.

True in so many places but also true in how young people in the UK have consumed social media.

Birmingham agency Beatfreeks along with National Youth Trends and Be Internet Citizen have published some really useful data in their Social Snapshot report. Based on more than 1,000 responses this shows what Generation Z – that’s 16 to 25 year olds – think.

Yes, it’s everywhere

99 per cent of Generation Z use social media. If you want to talk to them, that’s one place to find them. While they’re users they’re not always enthusiastic users. 40 per cent could live in a world without social media.

Weekly it’s YouTube

One of the areas of divergence is between daily and weekly platform use. The most popular channel used weekly is YouTube on 91 per cent leading Instagram (81 per cent) and TikTok (78 per cent). Snapchat is 4th with 72 per cent and Facebook comes in 5th with 71 per cent.

Yes, Snapchat is still a thing. If you were a teenager you’d know this.

Daily it’s an Insta v TikTok battle

Look at the data for the channel most used daily, then Instagram on 48 per cent is just three per cent ahead of TikTok. That’s a big change compared to just a couple of years ago when Instagram was the clear market leader. Clearly, something is happening with TikTok.

They’re not in the public marketplace of social

Dannah Boyd in ‘It’s Complicated’ spoke of how young people use social in the same way that older people used the landline. Basically, talk to your friend on the landline in the hall and if parents came in change the conversation.

WhatsApp is the leader with 85 per cent but frustratingly they don’y count Messenger.

A wider group of messenging channels all have around a quarter. That includes Signal, Telegram, Discord and Twitch.

They’re not in the public marketplace of early social, they’re in dark social spaces.

What they’ll share and what they’re happy about

Motivational, entertaining and informative messages get shared.

Just over half – 53 per cent – make a connection on social media they wouldn’t have done in real life during the pandemic.

Social media for young people is a mixed thing.

More than half seek alternative views in their timeline.

As we’ve seen, 40 per cent can live without social media while 30 per cent can’t live without it. That’s not an overwhelming vote in favour but more of a pragmatic mix.

Social Snapshot is available to download from Beetfreaks.

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