Room to Improve, No Matter What Age

Social media hit the scene at the end of the 1990s with a website called Six Degrees; a site where users could create a profile and then connect with others. The reason I mention this is to emphasize the little amount of time that social media has actually existed.

I constantly hear friends and family joke about how their parents and grandparents aren’t able to figure out how to perform simple tasks on their cell phones, email, social media profiles, etc. It’s hilarious, but I often forget that they didn’t grow up with this kind of technology. Tools like social media can appear very complex and confusing, making it intimidating for those who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy.

Nevertheless, as time has passed, older generations have begun to adapt to the technology leap. Today, we are witnessing various social media platforms experience a major shift in its user’s age demographic.

Believe it or not, the most widely-used social media platform in the United States is not Facebook. What? Yes. According to the Pew Research Center, a 2018 study revealed that YouTube holds the title for most popular platform. It’s used by 73% of U.S. adults and has broad consistency in usage across demographic groups.

As you can see from the chart above, without the competition of YouTube, Facebook experiences the most amount of usage among all age demographics. Although, another recent study from the Pew Research Center reported that teenagers have abandoned Facebook in favor of other social media platforms.

So, why exactly is the younger generation moving away from Facebook? Well, some users believe that “parents killed it,” while others just believe that a new and improved platform will eventually come along and take over.

This got me thinking, what might Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg be doing to prepare for such an event? Will the large membership loss sink his company? Let’s just say that all members 35 and younger chose to delete their Facebook accounts, would the middle to older generation be able to support the company enough to continue running? Zuckerberg must realize that most of the older generation created personal profiles primarily as a way to stay connected with their children and others.

If I were a part of Zuckerberg’s communications department, I would possibly recommend conducting multiple focus groups with a variety of younger generation social media user to gain a better idea of what Facebook could be doing better to improve their experience. Also, considering what was quoted earlier, I might brainstorm some ideas as to how Facebook as a platform could enhance its services (upgrade) so that it would be more difficult for another platform to “take over” Facebook.

It’s wonderful to see an enhanced social media/technology aptitude improvement in the older generation as time goes on. It also warms my heart when I see a younger member in the community actively and patiently assisting those who struggle, as I firmly believe that humans are meant to teach and help others improve no matter what age they are.

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Be the Change You Want to See in the World: You Are Not Invisible

As you may have already discovered, a 16-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, has taken climate change activism to a whole new level. Her journey to becoming a prominent figured began in August 2018 when she started the first school strike for climate change outside of her local Swedish parliament building.

Thunberg has made an appearance on TEDxStockholm, the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the World Economic Forum at Davos. Needless to say, she has built up quite a following and remains active and relevant. As of early March 2019, Thunberg has 233,000 followers on Twitter, 261,049 on Facebook and has developed a #FridaysforFuture movement.

This movement has inspired kids in dozens of countries to demand action on climate change. In result, thousands of young climate change activists around the world have refused to go to school in recent weeks, and more strikes are planned, including a worldwide strike on March 15.

Writer, Somini Sengupta recently published an article, Becoming Greta: “Invisible Girl” to Global Climate Activist, with Bumps Along the Way, in The New York Times detailing Thunberg’s journey to becoming one of the most well-known environmental child activists in the world.

Sengupta shares a quote by Thunberg offering an explanation to the title of the article. “All my life I’ve been invisible, the invisible girl in the back who doesn’t say anything. From one day to another, people listen to me. That’s a weird contrast. It’s hard.”

(Photo: Svante Thunberg/Twitter)

Although Thunberg experiences social anxiety, she has pushed through this fear and established an active appearance worldwide through social media and public appearances. Her ambition and passion for the environment has given her the attention and visibility she longed for.

Her personality is known for being quite wry, blunt and sometimes very sarcastic. This catches many people by surprise, but I believe it helps grab their attention and take her seriously. For example, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office dismissed school walkouts in Britain as a distraction that “wastes lesson time.” Thunberg was quick to strike back with a tweet saying, “But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 yrs of inaction. And that is slightly worse.”

Like anyone who may be in the public’s eye, Thunberg has had to become very careful about everything she does. She curates her social media carefully, highlighting all personal supportive environmental acts. Unfortunately, sometimes her public role brings unwelcomed attention. A picture surfaces of Thunberg on a train, eating a plastic-wrapped sandwich.

I personally think that Thunberg has initiated something really incredible, not only in a short period of time but at a very young age. She shows no sign of backing down from the fight between politicians and climate change improvements, and her following is growing more and more each day.

Let your voice be heard. The time to take action is now. Climate change is real, it’s a serious issue and it’ll only get worse if we don’t act now.

If you’re interested in joining the movement and participating in the March 15 strike, as well as future strikes, visit the official #FridaysforFuture website. Also, be sure to check out Thunberg’s active Twitter page for consistently updated information.

Students demonstrate during a ‘Youth For Climate’ strike urging pupils to skip classes to protest a lack of climate awareness in Lausanne, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.