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Millennials on Social Media Are Aging, Widening the Generation Gap

Jan 12, 2024

Social Trends

Millennials on Social Media Are Aging, Widening the Generation Gap

From ripped skinny jeans to flower crowns, millennials on social media were thrown out into the cringe bin many years ago. 

Despite being wholly shunned by the internet for their moustache finger tattoos and the infamous “millennial pause,” millenials on social media have still maintained their relevance and presence. Yes, they were often slow on the trend uptake, but they were able to adapt to new social media platforms and on the whole keep up with Gen Z’s language and humour. 

However, in the past year, something has shifted. It seems that millennials on social media are finally moving beyond cringe-dom to simply being, well, old. 

Before all our millennials readers click off this post in a huff, don’t fret; there is hope for you yet. For one thing, Boomers are in the midst of a renaissance, with a myriad of TikTok accounts run by this older generation picking up serious speed. For another, at its core, social media is still the same as MySpace was all those years ago. 

Millennials are losing their rizz 

As previously mentioned, millenials on social media have been on the cringe chopping block for some time now. Much like fashion fads, social media trends quickly come in and out of popularity, with much of what used to make the internet laugh simply causing Gen Z to shake their heads.

Recently, this cringiness has recently progressed into something more. Millennials are now feeling the effects of their age on the internet, with modern Gen Z trends and humour alienating this older age group. 

It seems that this phenomenon, of millenials ageing out of the internet, is caused by the general ‘enjunkification’ of the internet, and the overall cognitive decline of their generation. 

The term ‘enjunkification’ refers to the general decrease in quality of social media and the internet in general. The internet is currently in a transitional phase, caused by a present lack of start-ups battling it out for our attention. In contrast to the early 2000’s, when platforms such as Facebook and Alphabet had to continually up their game to stay on top, these businesses are now mature and stable. This has created a kind of stasis, where the internet is stalling rather than being majorly disrupted. 

@broskireport

Broski Nation Cultural & Arts Center is pleased to announce that Millennial Core is officially IN. Episode 6 of the Broski Report is OUT NOW!

♬ original sound – The Broski Report

Beyond this, and perhaps more importantly, millenials are getting older. For over ten years, their generation was in control of the internet. They were the first adapters of the smartphone, the driving force behind MySpace, and the group that gave Facebook its start. Millennials moulded the internet to suit their tastes and desires, and maintained it for a decade. 

Now, Gen Z has entered the fold, and they intend to follow in millenials’ footsteps. Gen Z is picking up from where millenials left off, shaping the internet and social media into a place they want to spend time. As such, millenials are being pushed out. 

Rather than being able to quickly adapt to the changing landscape of platforms such as TikTok, and the new generation’s sense of humour, many millennials on social media have stated that they are struggling to keep up. 

This inability to tap back into the internet, and understand it, is merely an effect of cognitive decline; in the same manner that boomers aged beyond the internet, millenials on social media are now doing the same. 

However, recently boomers have begun to make their way back into relevancy. 

The Boomer renaissance 

In a surprise to many, TikTok is becoming home to a wide range of boomers. 

The cause of this recent uptick in boomers’ popularity? Gen Z. 

Gen Z, much to TikTok’s delight, has taken to utilising the app much like they do Google; typing their various questions and queries into the social media platform, hoping to find videos with answers. Boomers have risen to the challenge, with accounts such as that run by Ann Russell offering up helpful advice to the younger generation. 

@annrussell03

Replying to @BeBe1228

♬ original sound – Ann Russell She/Her

These accounts have become immensely popular, amassing followings millions strong, simply by engaging with their audience and answering their questions. One boomer influencer, Jeremy Beaumont, is a particular success story. His fashion based videos filmed from his tailor shop have become so popular, that his shop’s revenue has increased 35% at £1 million. 

@rhodes_wood

How to tie a full Windsor knot. #fullwindsor #tie #suits #fyp #rhodeswood #howto

♬ original sound – Rhodes Wood

One theory behind the sudden popularity of boomers’ on TikTok, is that their generation suits TikTok’s soul; at its core, the app is about being crafty, learning to do things better, picking up new skills, and helping each other out. Younger generations turn to TikTok to find answers and support, and boomers on social media are able to provide this. 

Millennials, in contrast, are just too old to be included in trends, and just too young to provide advice. They are in limbo; awaiting until they are senior enough to come back into fashion. 

What’s the broader impact? 

A recent ad by Australian Lamb has taken the internet by storm due to its depiction of the generation gap. The ad delves into the wide chasm between each generation, and then cheekily claims that the only way to cross this gap is with a good roast lamb. 

@deliciousaus

The Australian lamb ad for 2024 has just dropped. This year’s short film lamb-poons Boomers & Gen Zs with commentary on the generation gap. More details in linkinbio #makeitdelicious #australianlambad #australianlamb #australiantvads

♬ original sound – deliciousaus

On a deeper level, however, the ad puts forth an interesting thought; perhaps what makes the generation gap so deep and distant, is our obsession with it. As the TikTok boomers are proving, there is still so much that connects younger and older generations. Ignoring these connections in favour of emphasising on differences may provide fodder for hilarious memes, but has the potential to widen the generational gap till it is as large as people fear. 

Ads such as this are so effective in that they poke fun at all generations; not merely millennials on social media. Each generation has their own flaws and strange quirks that make them unique. As the ad claims, we are all addicted to our phones, all desperately trying to be cool on the internet, and all just a little bit lost. 

From a marketing standpoint, keeping in mind how to best market to each generation is of course essential for a successful campaign; it’s simply good advertising to target your audience effectively. Beyond this, boomers’ increasing popularity and growing relevance mean they are currently a wholly untapped market. Brands would be wise to consider working with popular boomer influencers, and making use of their current trendiness. 

Yet, social media platforms remain at their core the same as before. They are spaces where people connect and brands can sell products; nothing more, nothing less. 

Thus, millennials on social media should not be deleting their TikTok accounts or creating millennial support groups on Facebook; not yet anyway. Yes, the internet now lies in the hands of Gen Z and they are quickly moulding its landscape. But, eventually the pendulum will swing back around and millenials on social media will have their very own hay day. As will Gen Z when Gen A eventually takes over next. 

No matter who is running the internet, its soul will remain the same. This is what the older generations should hold onto, not trying to understand skibidi toilet. Because honestly, no one does; that’s kind of the point.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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