By Stephanie Monohan
The adult vs teen “generation wars” are heating up in social media. It seems everyone is hyper-consious of generational stereotypes, and ready to get in on critiquing other generations. A few recent examples:
The hashtag #followateen resurfaced last week, encouraging adults to follow a random teenaged Twitter-user and post about what they find.
It seems that many of those who used the hashtag may not have actually followed teens, but the punchline ultimately was that teens and young adults overshare on social media, are opinionated about things are only relevant to their age-group, and sprinkle their language with emojis, which equally confound and amuse adults. However, it didn’t take long for teens to strike back, led by their fearless leaders of Rookie Mag:
The #followateen vs. #followanadult phenomenon occurred merely a few days before Time Magazine published its much-discussed cover story, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Intelligent, well-researched critiques of Joel Stein’s piece surfaced immediately, but perhaps the best response (or at least the funniest) can be found in #followanadult.
So as we are in “generational-hyperconsious mode” it appears. Boomers seem to have adopted a 2013 version of “kids these days…”. While Millennials, on the other hand, find it ironic that equally tech-addicted Boomers make fun of youth tech use. In the past, generations socialized more in separate spaces, making this generational tension a little less obvious…but now one of the unexpected by-products of Twitter ubiquity might be its use as the new battleground of intergenerational conflict!
By Alison Hillhouse, MTV Insights
Constant feedback looping is a way of life for Millennials, who grew up with “full on” parenting, as well as the omnipotent social media machine, powered by “likes”, lols, RTs and <3333333333. So it’s not surprising that Millennials are creating new apps, sites and forms of digiquette that fuel the loop. In chatting with MTV’s Inner Circle, our college trend panel, we’ve learned about two new feedback mechanisms gaining momentum at universities:
- Anonymous compliment sites – Compliment Facebook pages have been cropping up for colleges around the country — students anonymously post compliments for friends, crushes and randoms in their Psych 101 class. While compliments run the gamut between sincere and joke, most seem to reflect a witty hybrid of both. A sampling:
o “_____ has her sh*t together more than anyone I know. The most beautiful and the most insightful.” ~Kenyon compliments
o “______, every time I see you I just feel happy …. Also, you make a mean Spotify playlist.” ~Kenyon compliments
o “____, you are like the kidney of Hamilton College. People abuse you sometimes, but everyone loves you and needs you no matter what.” ~ Hamilton compliments
o “_____ has a neat beard, a cool personality, and rocks at social media (texting, twitter, and stuff like that)! He’s also nice. Xoxo” ~Michigan Law compliments
- Lulu- This new app is exploding at the University of Florida and other campuses down South – it allows girls to rate guys in their Facebook network across a variety of dimensions from manners to sense of humor to commitment potential. Each guy is also assigned positive hashtags (e.g. #WillSeeRomComs or #Perfect Grammar or #SexualPanther) and negative ones (e.g. #IntegrityChallenged or #Worlds Worst Massages).
Many guys are obsessed with their rankings and feedback, and are clamoring to check girl friends’ cell phones to check their latest status. And when they aren’t pleased, we’re seeing responses in Twitter like this:
Tweet: “I HAVE TROUBLE WITH COMMITMENT?!?! YOU INSIGHTFUL BITCH! #Luluproblems #yoursoright”
With all the interest in soliciting “likes” & positive feedback across different platforms, we’ve also heard rumblings of annoyance that peers are so feedback obsessed. Some of this is reflected in snarky or fake posts seen on these sites. Regardless, we don’t see the “looping” trend reversing anytime soon.
By Alison Hillhouse, MTV Insights
Twitter is on trend with Millennials, particularly teenagers who are looking for a more coded, parent-free and conversational platform to chat & share pics.
Time spent on Twitter has climbed significantly in the past year amongst young Millennials aged 12-24: total minutes spent Tweeting on a PC/Mac are up +94% (Oct to Oct) and up 62% on mobile (ages 18-24; both app+mobile site).
Of course, Facebook is still the elephant in the room, or the mammoth we should say. Its 34.3M 12-24 year-old users dwarf Twitters’ 12.4M (on Mac/PC, Oct.) But the fact that Twitter is picking up steam is something to explore further. MTV Insights hears more & more teens across the country getting excited about Twitter, and here are a few of its advantages…
The age-old teen cry “get out of my room” has now translated to social media. While Millennials often have more peer-like relationships with parents, this doesn’t mean that they want parents involved in their online social life. A group of high school boys from Cincinnati revealed to us: “the good thing about Twitter is parents aren’t on it.”
The 144-character-limit to Tweets naturally gives rise to a more coded language amongst teens; one that not only parents have difficulty interpreting, but also friends who aren’t in on the joke/storyline. Teens frequently “subtweet,” or post coded/vague messages that only the right receiver will be able to interpret (messages that often give rise to intense speculation amongst classmates interested in that night’s drama…)
A subtweet might involve the phrase #oomf (one of my followers) which gives someone the opp to vaguely direct the tweet, e.g. “I like that #oomf said she was going to sleep but is still Tweeting.”
Teens love that Twitter gives them permission to share more “train-of-thought” commentary. Alise, a 17-year old from Chesapeake, VA says “I think Twitter is better because it’s updated in real time. I think Twitter is more of a “train of thought” site – people pretty much post anything they want from jokes to how they feel to what they did today.”
Alondra, a junior from Redford, MI explains “Twitter’s become very popular in my school. While on Twitter, they Tweet all day. You can mention things you’re doing every second of the day without posting it on Facebook and seeming annoying.”
Teens pretty much feel pressured to Facebook-friend their entire school… but Twitter is generally a more socially acceptable environment to be selective. Andy, a 16-year-old female from New Jersey explains: “Twitter is a good way to separate my acquaintances from my best friends. On Facebook, I have a bunch of people, most of which I don’t even talk to. On Twitter, I have people that I can’t go a day without talking to.”
While a lot of Twitter is all about interacting with friends, it’s equally as entertaining to follow celebs, news, sports and parody accounts. So to conclude, we’ll end with a few handles that our @MTVInsight teen panelists recommend:
· Bad Luck Brian: @UnluckyBrian
· Funny Facts: @FunnyFacts
· Aziz Ansari: @azizansari
· Bleacher Report: @BleacherReport
*Data source: ComScore
As the election draws to a close, @MTVInsights asked our college interns to tell the story of how their generation has engaged with this election over social media. Many have coined this the “first social election”… and for first time voters like our interns, they know nothing else. Millennials have been sharing witty memes and Tweefs (def: beefs in Twitter), as well as smartly utilizing online resources to fact check and discover their presidential soul mate.
Our interns Carly Ivrey and Hannah Nicklas share the most frequent kinds of political posts grazing the walls of their social media accounts…
1. Vote for Meme!
The presidential debates have allowed Millennials to go crazy creating GIFs and memes to express our opinions on politics. Even if a meme comes with a point of view, it’s usually more based on ribbing the subject’s reputation rather than policy, so supporters from both sides might be able to have a laugh.
During most of the debates, Millennials live Tweeted their opinions about what was happening on screen. They also poked fun at some of the crazier things politicians said by creating fake twitter accounts like @FiredBigBird and @RomneysBinders.
Instagram users got political by posting photos of things like their morning coffee in 7-Eleven’s “candidate cups,” their friends in politician costume masks, and images of their laptops as they watched a candidate’s speech
While many humorous political videos have been made by previous generations (and SNL shows little sign of slowing down), Millennials took it into their own hands to create something entertaining and kind of (but not really) informative. Some of our favorites:
· “Mitt Romney Style” (a parody of “Gangnam Style”)
· “99 Problems Explicit Political remix” (a mash-up of videos clips that produce President Obama’s take on Jay-Z’s hit) are a few examples of popular political viral videos.
· “Epic Rap Battles: Romney vs Obama” (Romney + Obama duke it out rap style)
5. “Dot Gov”
6. Finding a Presidential Soul Mate
On a serious note, quiz websites like ISideWith.com helped many Millennials, us included, to figure out which candidate really mirrored our opinions. These were a great stepping stone for us to learn more about the candidates, and with the sharing app, it was a great way to learn more about friends’ views too!
Fact-checking is extremely important to Millennials, since we were raised on Google. People posted tons of videos from FlackCheck.org showing what candidates said and revealing the truth behind their statements. Plus these videos run no longer than a minute, making them perfect for our ADD generation.
Whatever our opinions may be, whatever our approach may be, we all used our technology-savvy skills to make sure we were heard leading up to the election. Plus, it gave us another reason to keep humming the tune of “Gangnam Style”.
Stephanie Monohan, MTV Insights
Photo courtesy of Virginia Newton (@va_newton)
Social media has been playing a crucial role in the way Millennials talk about politics for quite some time, and that has never been more apparent than during the current election season. Following the presidential debate in Denver on October 3, Twitter announced that there were more than 10 million Tweets that evening, making it the most tweeted-about event in U.S. politics.
I myself attended a small debate party, in which we played “debate bingo” as a way to keep track of what topics the candidates covered and to make listening carefully to minute details on economic policy more fun. However, Twitter dominated the attention and conversations of everyone in attendance, for multiple reasons.
Twitter provided an outlet for users to share their reactions to the debate instantly, while also checking out the reactions of their friends, comedians, political analysts and experts, and even major celebrities, all of whom live-tweeted the event. People could either publish their own thoughts or instead re-tweet statements that they find humorous or intelligent as a way to convey their opinions without getting too personally involved in the conversation. Twitter (along with other social media sites) was also utilized as a live fact-checker for those closely following the stats and policies that the candidates mentioned. Even @MTV teamed up with the non-partisan FlackCheck.org to help their followers fact-check the information put forth in the debate in real time.
(courtesy of https://twitter.com/MTV)
Ultimately, the activity of Twitter users during the Presidential debates further demonstrates the complex ways in which Millennials utilize social media in their personal and politically active lives. There were plenty of jokes thrown around (Various Big Bird accounts appeared almost immediately upon the controversial Muppet mention), but even those reveal how Millennials’ political awareness is shaped by technology and what people share with one another online. However, while humor appears to be primary lens through which Millennials understand and talk about politics (and the fewer characters the better), it is still evidence of strong investment in the national/international issues and political discourse.