Stories, posts, comments: How are young people using social media in their communications?

79% of young people see themselves as ‘viewers’ on social networks. — AFP Relaxnews

For many of us, social media has become a major part of our daily lives and one of our main modes of communication, especially for younger generations. So what are young people doing most on these platforms?

Stories, posts, comments – YPulse conducted a survey to decipher the habits of 13-39 year-olds on social networks.

Are young people addicted to social media? In many cases, the answer is yes, but that might not mean what you think it does in terms of what they're actually doing on these networks.

According to a recent study by YPulse, young people are more inclined to read and comment on other people's posts than to publish their own content. While 58% of 13- to 39-year-olds read most of the comments on a post, only 22% are posting a video on their feed.

Indeed, the study points to users being largely passive on social media. Seventy-nine percent of young people see themselves as “viewers” on social networks, meaning they prefer to observe and consume content rather than create and share their own. Only 21% of young people see themselves as creators.

The lure of the ephemeral

This trend is also reflected in the frequency with which young people post content. The study shows that the majority of young people post on social media once a month at most, and only 5% post content every day.

So what are young people doing on social media if they aren't posting content? Reading and commenting on other people's posts. According to the study, 58% of young people read comments on a social media post in the week preceding the survey, and 46% of them left a comment on a post.

This trend is particularly pronounced among teenagers. The study shows that 63% of teenagers, aged 13 to 17, have read the comments on a post in the previous week, while 53% have left a comment.

Teens are also more likely to use the “comments” section of a post to engage in a conversation with their friends, even tagging friends and having conversations with them. Young people often use this approach to share a meme or a post that they think their friends can relate to.

When it comes to posts, young adults aged 18 to 24 prefer to publish photos on their stories rather than on their feeds. The study shows that 36% of young adults have published a photo on their story, compared with just 20% who have published a photo on their feed.

This preference for stories is explained by the fact that young adults are looking to maintain their online presence while being selective about what others can see. Stories are a casual way to publish content without having to worry about perfection or long-term relevance, explains the YPulse study.

Young users now choose the posts they publish on their feeds very carefully. It's not uncommon to see them deleting all their content on Instagram in order to create a new "aesthetic” for themselves. – AFP Relaxnews

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