Gen Z is social distancing – social media.
Zoomers are notorious for being glued to their phones, but twenty-somethings are taking a stand against greedy apps like TikTok and Instagram. Calling them “toxic” and “obsessive”, these young people say they are regaining control of their time by stepping away from the roller.
And the anti-app wave seems to be spreading – new research reveals that Instagram is losing its grip on the next generation. According to a recent survey commissioned by the investment bank Piper Sandleronly 22% of respondents aged 7-22 named Meta’s popular photo-sharing platform as their favorite app, down from 31% in Spring 2020.
“When you delete it, you realize you don’t need it,” Gabriella Steinerman, 20, told The Post. The economics major ditched Instagram and TikTok in 2019 and said the relief she felt after going unplugged was almost immediate.
“When I was posting I wanted the best photo I took and the best angle and I had 20 different photos of the same thing. I was comparing myself to myself, it’s not a fun game,” a Steinerman said “I would say it’s obsessive behavior and it’s toxic, but it’s also sneaky in the sense that when you do it, it feels so normal.”
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal last year, Facebook found that Instagram is harmful to teenage girls and exacerbates body image issues, anxiety and depression, but downplayed the studies. internal.
Penn State senior Pat Hamrick also ditched Instagram and Facebook two years ago when he felt trapped in comparisons.
Social media, he said, “subconsciously compared me to others and it really ate at me. I was like, ‘Am I doing the right things, am I having fun good ?’ »
So the 22-year-old took action, stepping away from the gram for the sake of his mental health. He noticed a huge improvement in his mood: “[Leaving Instagram] made me feel better about everyday life, i’m just doing my thing, my way.
Hamrick isn’t the only one to have lost his confidence after spending time in these online environments. A December survey of Tallo found that 56% of Gen Zers said “social media made them feel left out by their peers.”
That’s why Olivia Eriksson, 21, a chemical engineering student at Columbia, has such mixed feelings about her diet.
“I think people will spend a lot of time creating Instagram posts, which can be fun sometimes, but other times it’s like, what’s the point of all this?” said Eriksson, who “intermittently deletes Instagram” for up to six months at a time.
Although she’s back now, Eriksson’s friend and classmate at Columbia, 22-year-old Nicholas Mijares, won’t dare download the app.
“I don’t really think people present something for the purpose of having a good time or just trying to be funny,” he said, who uses other social sites like Twitter very much. relaxed and especially for laughs. From what he’s seen, he finds the sleek and captivating feel of Instagram irritating. “I guess it looks more like something organized,” he said.
The clock is ticking for TikTok?
According to the Tallo poll, most Gen Z respondents prefer TikTok over Instagram, with 34% currently calling it their favorite social media spot.
But even the most dedicated users admit to wondering about the phenomenon of video sharing.
Halle Kaufax, 23, has confessed that she was caught in the clutches of TikTok, with no “will power” to delete the app from her phone.
As an aspiring actress and recent NYU graduate, she thinks being popular on TikTok and representing big brands could boost her career — but she knows it’s not good for her.
“I saw a girl who had about 3,900 subscribers, which is only a thousand more than me, get this huge package sent by Dior and made this huge unboxing video and it really made me think, ‘Why her and not me?’” Kaufax said.
The East Village resident posts fun content for over 2,700 followers, including TikTok dances and lip-syncs. Still, the grate grind eats away at her. “In my head, I’ll be thinking, what if I had another thousand subscribers? That can make me very embarrassed,” Kaufax said.
According to the Tallo poll, her experience is common, with three in four young women responding that social media has made them “compare themselves to their peers.”
Tim Lanten, a 25-year-old biomedical engineering student at Columbia University, declines to download the app because it “seems more geared toward high schoolers with short attention spans.”
Manny Srulowitz, 21, also said ta-ta to the “ultimate time-waster” that is TikTok.
“The constant scrolling sound got really annoying really quickly. I found the suppression [TikTok] to be very easy just because of how boring it was,” the Lawrence, New York native said of the app dump in 2020. “I think I’ll delete Instagram too at some point [for the same reasons].”
Srulowitz was pleasantly surprised to find that spending less time on apps had no negative impact on his social life.
“As a student, I have friends, I have people to hang out with . . . I don’t have FOMO,” he said.
Be real, which launched in 2020, bills itself as the anti-Instagram. In an effort to combat screen addiction, the site only allows specific two-minute time windows for users to post unedited, unfiltered snaps throughout the day. There are no likes.
The app appears to be gaining traction with students and was downloaded 1.1 million times in February, according to Bloomberg.
But what about those thousand-year-old strongholds, Facebook and Twitter?
Tallo found that the old behemoths were barely ranked, with Facebook being the favorite for only 4% of Zoomers and Twitter garnering only 2% of votes.
That sounds good for 23-year-old Max Gross. “After high school, people I knew didn’t have Facebook anymore,” the NYU student from New Jersey told the Post.
Giorgio Gambazzi, 22, said his early experiences with Facebook turned him completely away from social media.
“After Facebook, I realized that [other social sites] follow the same kind of iteration… at this point it almost hurts to keep scrolling. I feel like I’m wasting my time. »
Some Gen Zers never boarded the social media train to begin with — like Tzali Evans, a 22-year-old chemical engineering student at Cooper Union.
“If you have close friends and are willing to try a little harder,” Evans said, “there’s no reason you can’t have the same real life experiences as someone who is on social media.”