As I watch the new HBO show “The Last of Us,” I can’t help drawing parallels to our current world and the digital transformation we have undergone over the last ten-plus years. Imagine a world without instant gratification: A world where information and communication were not at our fingertips. Believe it or not, three generations once lived this reality. Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials are the last generations to have experienced life without social media. (In fact, if you are reading this, chances are, you are part of one of these three generations.) It’s hard to fathom that just two short decades ago, the concept of social media was nothing more than an AOL chat room or—dear god—a Geocities page.
These three generations have witnessed the birth and evolution of social media and have adapted to its presence in their own unique ways. It’s mind-blowing to think that our three generations are the last to have known life without social media, and that future generations will never have the opportunity to experience what life was like before its arrival. We are the bridge between the pre-digital era and the modern world of instant gratification, information overload, and constant connection.
HOW HAVE THE DIFFERENT GENERATIONS ADAPTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA?
The use of social media has drastically changed over the years, with different generations adapting to the platform in their own unique ways.
Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are the first generation to fully embrace technology and the internet. They were initially wary of social media but have since adopted it as a way to stay connected with friends and family. They tend to use social media for personal communication and to share memories and experiences.
Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, are considered the “early adopters” of technology. They are comfortable with social media and use it for both personal and professional reasons. They use the platform to stay connected with friends and family, but also to network and promote their careers.
MILLENNIALS (GEN Y)
My generation of Millennials, or Gen Y, born between 1980 and 1994, are the largest and most diverse generation online. We grew up with technology and social media and have integrated it into every aspect of our lives. We use social media for entertainment, networking, and to stay informed on current events. We are also the most likely to use social media for political activism and to express our opinions on issues.
It’s fascinating that each generation has a different attitude toward social media. For example, older generations may view social media as a way to stay connected with friends and family. In comparison, younger generations see it as a source of entertainment, information, and a platform for political activism. As technology continues to change and shape society, the way we interact with and utilize social media is bound to change as well.
Social media has become a permanent fixture in our lives. New generations will never have experienced life without it, and will naturally adopt it in a unique way. Whether it is used for personal or professional reasons, social media will continue to play an important role in how we communicate, stay informed, and build relationships. As technology advances, how we use social media will continue to evolve, but the importance of staying connected with others will remain the same.
GENERATION Z AND GENERATION ALFA
Generation Z (1995 - 2009) and Generation Alfa, or Gen A, (2010 - 2024) are being raised in a world where social media and technology are ubiquitous. We expect them to have an even stronger connection to technology and social media than previous generations, as those will have always been part of their lives.
We expect to see further integration with other technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. Additionally, we will see more curated content across social media platforms. With access to an overwhelming amount of information, Generation Alfa will use social media to curate and filter content to seek out what is most relevant to them.
As social media usage continues to grow, it’s clear that its importance in investigative research will only increase as a critical tool for those seeking the truth.
The rise of social media has created new avenues for individuals to spread false or harmful information, leading to increased cases of defamation. Various platforms have become common places for people to express their opinions. While free speech is protected, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t extend to false and malicious statements. As the use of social media continues to grow, the legal system has grappled with how to handle these types of cases. Individuals who make false and harmful statements on social media can be held liable for defamation.
As social media continues to play a major role in our daily lives, we will likely see an increase in cases of liability for slander through social media. We also expect to see more of an emphasis on mental health. With a growing awareness of the negative impact of social media on mental health, Generation Alfa may use social media in a way that prioritizes their well-being. The success of these endeavors remains to be seen.
From uncovering exaggerated claims to connecting the dots with fraud networks, social media will continue to provide a wealth of irrefutable data that can be analyzed and used to further investigations, validate claims, and reduce the overall claim cycle from start to finish.
SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN INVESTIGATIVE TOOL
Social media has long proven to be a valuable tool for investigative research. The vast amount of information shared on social media provides valuable insights and leads for SIU and claims adjusters. From uncovering exaggerated claims to connecting the dots with fraud networks, social media will continue to provide a wealth of invaluable data, which can be analyzed and used to further investigations, validate claims, and reduce the overall claim cycle length from start to finish, thus increasing efficiency, reducing reserve dollars, and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction. As social media usage continues to grow, it’s clear that its importance in investigative research will only increase as a critical tool for those seeking the truth.
Chris McDade is a VP of Business Development and one of the founders of Social Discovery. Born and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area, Chris started his professional career in 2004 within the insurance industry as an independent insurance risk manager. In 2013, he helped start Social Discovery and has spent the last 10+ years working with the insurance and investigative markets. Chris is an avid kayaker, dogsled rollerblader, award-winning BBQ master, positive thought warrior, and lover of all things spicy! He is teaching his three girls to be resilient, resourceful, and respectful.
Get in touch today to find out more about social media screening and how Social Discovery can help.