Social media platforms evolve with millennials’ usage


Maria Echeverry

Graphic by Maria Echeverry.

Story by Annie Hanson

Scrolling through social media is a part of most millennials’ daily routine. Some millennials learned how to use social media just a few years after they learned how to brush their teeth.

Senior Rebecca Simkins skims social media routinely.

“I definitely get on it immediately when I get up for probably about five minutes, and when I go to bed, looking at it before I go to sleep, too, for another 15 to 20 minutes,” Simkins said.

Simkins checks on her social media accounts any chance she gets.

“I am on it at least once between classes and total maybe over an hour a day,” she said.

Like other students at Baker University, Simkins is a frequent user of Facebook and Snapchat. However, Simkins said she cannot live without Instagram.

“I just really like looking at pictures people post,” she said. “With Facebook, I couldn’t care less about statuses, I just look at pictures.”

She even went as far to explain how her ritualized scrolling turns into creeping.

“I have a bad habit of creeping on people, especially when I get bored,” Simkins said. “Sometimes it’s intentional. Other times, I just go off on (a) tangent in my Instagram.”

Simkins said it has basically invaded millennials’ lives, but she knows millennials who have attempted to stay away from social media.

“Which I think is cool, but personally I don’t think it’s feasible because I think they’re missing out on a lot of information that is happening in their lives,” she said.

So how does social media work for those who did not grow up with it?

Rachel Shuck graduated from Baker University and served as the editor of the Baker Orange in fall of 2011. She is now a marketing and communications specialist for Baker. Today her career largely revolves around social media. Shuck reaches constituents through multiple social platforms.

“I am trying to reach alumni, family members, friends and supporters of Baker University,” Shuck said. “My primary message is targeted toward prospective students for adult degree programs.”

At work, the primary social media platform she works with is Facebook. However, she is a big fan of Twitter.

“It’s constantly changing and there is always something new, and I feel like I use it a lot,” she said.

Shuck is aware of how powerful social media can be.

“It’s an easy way to stay connected with friends, family and what’s going on in the world, and it’s the primary way I receive my news, too,” she said.

However, Shuck said that she and her husband try to stay off social media when they are at home together.

“We’ve had lots of discussions about this lately,” she said. “I’m way more into social media and staying connected than he is.”

Millennials are often stereotyped as being constantly engaged with social media. What platforms do they favor the most?

In a survey conducted by American Press Institute, 88 percent of millennials get their news from Facebook, while YouTube came in second.

In an informal survey of 100 students from Baker University, the data suggests that among all forms of social media, Snapchat, at 41 percent, is the most popular at BU. Freshman Andrew Dau is a personal fan of Snapchat.

“Snapchat is just so accessible and I feel like people are using it more as a fun way to communicate,” Dau said. “Obviously texting is just as good, but Snapchat is more personal with pictures.”

Like Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat has become a popular source of news and information. In fact, if a Baker student had to choose only one form of communication to use, 32 percent said Snapchat and 24 percent said Facebook.

The American Press Institute’s Media Insight Survey was conducted in 2015, and the national averages compared to Baker students show vast differences. Snapchat was not even mentioned on the survey.

“Although Facebook is popular among all adults under age 35, younger Millennials are even more likely to use a mix of social networks for news than older members of this generation,” the American Press Institute explains.

Dau believes that Facebook has become a dated form of social media.

“It was popular at some point in time, but you always hear that ‘parents have infiltrated Facebook’ excuse and I feel like that is a valid excuse,” he said. “I think that a lot of people are turned off by the whole idea of having a bunch of like older people on social media.”

Baker University students say the mostly use social media to stay in contact with their peers. Eighty-one percent of students in the BU survey use social media to see what their friends are up to. Sixty-nine percent of students are seeking entertainment, not necessarily news.

“I use Twitter the most for tweeting thoughts and connecting with people,” Dau said. “So, I would not say I use it to get news, but I definitely do get news out of it as a byproduct of using social media.”

Whether they are stressed, happy, sad, or busy, Baker students are using a variety of social media platforms, giving them the power to learn about what is happening around them, whether next door or across the world.