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Study reveals Generation Z flocks away from inauthentic social media

A new study from advertising firm Hill Holliday’s research branch Origin reveals that Generation Z, those born in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, are flocking away from social media in droves.

While most Gen Z’ers are fully intrenched in the social world, which should come as little surprise, a sizable number, 34 percent, have sworn off social media as a whole and 64 percent are taking a break from social platforms.

Further, in the survey of more than 1,000 18 to 24-year-old Americans, 41 percent claimed they felt anxious, sad, or depressed by social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.


Lesley Bielby, chief strategy officer at Hill Holliday, spoke about the results of the survey, which may be shocking to some brands that have used social media to reach Gen Z.

“Firstly, most Gen Z’ers are more likely to turn down or temporarily pause some social media sites rather than abandoning them completely, so there’s no need to panic. But in the light of this, there is definitely a need to think differently about how brands can use social media. While most people in our study felt that the good outweighed the bad, they are more likely to turn down or turn off sites and content that feed their insecurities.”


Bielby went on to say that this survey shouldn’t stop brands from using social media, in fact the results of the study prove that Gen Z’ers are still all over social platforms, but companies need to find a way to help Gen Z use social media positively:

“The study actually suggests that for the most part, social platforms are still relevant and worthy of investment. But marketers and advertisers need to refocus on helping Gen Z’ers use social media for good, instead of amplifying any negative impact on young adults, who are in one of the most vulnerable developmental stages of their lives.”

Bielby went further to describe how Gen Z resents “institutions and corporations,” thus social responsibility and authenticity are key to connecting to Gen Z on social media.

“We have to remember that this is a cohort that doesn’t trust institutions and that has little faith in corporations. They align with brands they believe in and will call foul of those that don’t demonstrate strong values and ethics. Brands need to invest in using social sites responsibly, to focus on amplifying brand messages that are relevant, and that do good.”


Ultimately, just because a social media platform exists doesn’t mean that a brand needs to fill it with inauthentic content. Companies would be best served using a smaller selection of social with more impactful content as opposed to flooding all social channels with as much stuff as possible:

“Just because a social platform exists doesn’t mean that your brand has to fill it with content. Gen Z’ers, who are supposed to be social natives, are now at worst, overwhelmed by the amount of sites and content and the amount of mind-space and maintenance that too much social engagement can entail. To that end, only the most relevant and respectful social platforms will thrive.”

While these results don’t signal any sort of apocalypse for social media, they do reveal a new way of thinking for brands and how they use social platforms to connect to Generation Z. Impactful and authentic content over volume always.

Personalized learning is the future of education and Mark Zuckerberg knows it

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan continue to use their platform for philanthropic good, this time throwing their money behind personalized learning in a bid to modernize the American education system.

In a recent personal essay, Zuckerberg reiterated his belief in personalized learning, in which curriculums are designed for an individual student based on their own learning patterns. As American public schools fall further into disrepair, the debate over school choice and charter schools has intensified.

Zuckerberg wrote that he thinks this dynamic misses the mark.

“A lot of today’s debates pit district schools against charter schools, or reformers against unions. But over the long term, we need to build tools to empower every teacher at every school to provide personalized instruction and mentorship to every student. Instead of engaging in zero-sum debates, we think we’ll help more by building tools to help all teachers everywhere.”

Now, Zuckerberg is obviously a proponent of technology and the Facebook founder sees tech as the answer to improved personalized education:

“The magic of technology is that it can help social change scale faster. And because of Mark’s experience building a world-class engineering organization at Facebook, we are in a unique position to build a philanthropy with a great engineering team to help our partners scale their social change faster as well.”

While Zuck acknowledged that there are plenty of instances of individual teachers using personalized education, the problem is scaling the curriculum to a larger student body:

“One challenge we’ve seen in education is that there are many brilliant teachers and school leaders who create new kinds of schools based on new models of learning — but those schools usually only serve hundreds of students, while most children still do not have access to them. There are very few examples of new school models that expand to thousands of schools today.”

And, again, Zuckerberg thinks emerging technologies can help bridge this gap:

“Our hope is that technology can help with this scaling challenge. We’re seeing promising signs of early success, where our partnership with Summit Public Schools has helped encode their teaching philosophy in tools that will be used in more than 300 district, charter, and private schools this fall.”

Zuckerberg has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to a variety of philanthropic endeavors, including personalized education. Personalized education is a truly exciting possibility for the future, especially as far too many American students get archaic and impractical educations.

There are issues with implementation, but with Zuckerberg’s money and technology, personalized education might just be the next big thing.

Facebook’s AI will scan ‘cry for help’ posts to help prevent suicides

Facebook is looking to make their contribution to the world’s mental health issues by using artificial intelligence. The social media platform’s AI will scan users’ posts for signs they’re having suicidal thoughts.

This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Facebook try and reach out to those who might be crying out for help.

Back in 2015, Facebook paired up with mental health organizations and rolled out tools that allowed users to report statuses that contained suicidal thoughts or that indicated self-harm.

Once reported, the suicide prevention tools which were created in conjunction with Facebook’s “clinical and academic partners” encouraged those looking to hurt themselves to speak with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Now, with the use of AI, the statuses and live feeds won’t just have to be reported by users in order to raise a red flag. AI will be able to scan and detect previous cases that have telltale signs danger.

So, how will it work? According to a Facebook blog post, the social media empire will use pattern recognition to detect posts or live videos where someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide.

Plus, the AI program will use “signals like the text used in the post and comments (for example, comments like “Are you ok?” and “Can I help?”).”

In a Facebook post, CEO of the company, Mark Zuckerberg, said the use AI could be a big help in identifying those who are looking to harm themselves before it’s too late.

“Starting today we’re upgrading our AI tools to identify when someone is expressing thoughts about suicide on Facebook so we can help get them the support they need quickly. In the last month alone, these AI tools have helped us connect with first responders quickly more than 100 times.”

Of course, the issue of privacy does raise questions and the use of AI and its data is scary AF. Even Facebook’s chief security officer Alex Stamos addressed these concerns on Twitter, he tweeted:

The data could be used to profile users and even though Facebook has been testing the AI program in the US, countries in the European Union aren’t having it.

According to the blog post, the tool won’t be active in any EU nations, because data protection laws prevent companies from profiling users in this way.

Globally this could help a whole bunch of people getting them the professional help they need in record time. Just to put it in perspective, the World Health Organization estimates that each year that there approximately there is one suicide death every 40 seconds.

Suicide is also the tenth leading cause of death in the US, accounting for more than one percent of all deaths, according to statistics we found on Mental Health America. To add nine of out ten people who attempt suicide and survive, do not go on to complete suicide at a later date.

We can only hope Facebook is not hiding behind suicide prevention and using the AI program’s collected data to harm us even more.

Anyway, stay safe and remember there always someone you can call. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255