Diffusion #71 “Between Trend and Interaction: Gen Z’s Use of Social Media”

April 4, 2022 12:10 pm || By

Author: Ni Kadek Ayu Pratiwi
Editor: Firya Q. Abisono

Yogyakarta, (1/4/2022)– Social media has become a platform that is close to our lives, especially for young people. Easiness of interacting and building relationships is offered by social media today. So much interesting to see how each generation uses social media for certain purposes. CfDS invited two of its researchers, there are Mario Hartanto and Perdana Karim to discuss more about Gen Z’s social media style in Diffusion #71, with Rafly Shofian as the moderator of the discussion. Smart People can access the discussion through Youtube CfDS UGM at the following link https://youtu.be/jBR-YScpT1Y

Gen Z and Their Comfort Space in Self-Disclosure

The phenomenon of self-disclosure is often done by social media users. Oversharing through social media is common nowadays by most netizens. As self-disclosure relates to the process of voluntarily communicating information about oneself to others, netizens, especially Gen Z have their way of doing it.

Mario said, anybody on social media tends to want to be heard more, want to develop relationships, and develop other things about themselves. By uploading content on social media, Gen Z  wants to build connectivity with other people. 

“We usually use social media to create our own personal image for others to see, or on the other side to predict the personality of other people on the same platform. The point is that as humans, we always want to communicate” he said.

The interactions that individuals do in society also affect the way they express themselves. Through social media such as Instagram, currently users tend to be more open in uploading photos and videos through the close friend feature. On the other side, besides the close friends feature, the second account or private account phenomenon was often used to upload more personal content. 

Apart from Instagram, the same thing happened on Twitter. The phenomenon of many forums such as fanbase and menfess enliven the dynamics of Twitter. The alter account and fanbase culture make it easier for users to express themselves due to a higher level of anonymity consciousness.

Textual-based content format on Twitter is considered to be more able to describe emotions and provide comfort than other social media platforms. Research reveals that more people feel their Twitter account is more private or personal, so they choose not to share it with many parties.

“The purpose of people creating new personal accounts is to create their own safe and comfortable space for sharing. Even though the scope is made smaller, there are still consequences that each account owner should understand. Where the content shared on social media will belong to the public,” said Mario in his presentation.

Seeing the Current Trend of Using TikTok by Gen Z

TikTok can be seen as a short video sharing platform, where content uploaded on TikTok is usually a 1 – 3 minute video. The uniqueness of TikTok as one of the new social media applications is related to strict regulations and implementation for its users. Although there are many controversies in several countries regarding the use of TikTok, it is undeniable that TikTok is currently developing rapidly.

“Every content is available on TikTok, it’s very diverse. All existing content in this universe seems to be found on Tiktok. This is supported by the simplicity offered by TikTok for users to produce content” said Karim.  

Tiktok currently has active users of various ages and professions. TikTok also becomes a channel of information for some people, because TikTok works to adjust the algorithm that its users are interested in. This is what makes TikTok users feel comfortable and become addicted. 

TikTok can’t be ignored because of its success in attracting various users from various circles. The difference between TikTok then and now is  noticeable. At the beginning, TikTok was filled with jokes and lip-sync content. The content is simple, but has a higher chance of going viral because there are not as many users as now. 

Now TikTok is more used as a medium to tell stories that are personal and can be enjoyed by many viewers. Oversharing on TikTok is also getting easier to find. Even TikTok is more open than the other apps, the content produced in it tends to be more private

Generation Z feels safe and comfortable sharing personal things on TikTok. The emergence of trends such as personal stories can lead to discussions in the digital space and become a form of affirmation. However, overstepping the boundaries of privacy on TikTok can be problematic. The algorithm created by TikTok makes users comfortable scrolling on TikTok until they forget the time.

“Digital activities carried out by Gen Z are not always understood by the other generations, and that becomes the beauty of digital activism and Gen Z’s current social media trend. The skill that Gen Z must have is to be able to sort and assess information, which one we should accept and which one we don’t,” closed Karim.