6 Reasons Some Millennials Don’t Use Facebook or Instagram

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It should surprise no one that plenty of millennials are addicted to the internet, constantly scrolling through their favorite social networks, and annoying people around them with obnoxious smartphone habits. But just as there are plenty of people who still buy dumb phones instead of smartphones (including some millennials), there are some millennials who have opted out of popular social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

There are plenty of good reasons to quit Facebook, whether you’re concerned about companies tracking your movements online, tired of oversharing details about your life, or worried about the long-term consequences of the things you post online. In fact, quitting Facebook sounds even more attractive when you learn about the negative effects of data aggregation, or take a look at how much data Facebook really has collected about you.

The Pew Research Center reported late in 2015 that a full 90% of Americans aged 18 to 29 use social media. That leaves 10% of millennials who don’t use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. According to statistics Pew shared earlier in the year, approximately 72% of online adults in the U.S. use Facebook. The group estimated that 25% use LinkedIn, 23% use Twitter, 31% use Pinterest, 28% use Instagram, and 10% use Tumblr. That leaves plenty of people who have decided not to use the social networks that many of us check on a daily basis. So why do a few millennials decide to opt out of social media or deactivate the accounts they already have? Read on to find out.

1. Some social networks just aren’t interesting to everyone

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According to Battery Ventures research conducted by Ipsos, “Not all young adults are selfie-stick carrying share-a-holics who only engage via Instagram and Snapchat.” In fact, the researchers found that “a non-trivial subset of millennials opt-out of social media” because the content they could find on a given social network just doesn’t interest them. Millennial women are statistically more likely to forego Snapchat and Twitter, while millennial men are more likely to opt out of Facebook and Pinterest. And the survey found that Instagram had 76% more active female users than Twitter.

2. If millennials choose just one social network, it’ll probably be Facebook

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Statistics from both Pew and Battery Ventures reveal that Facebook is, by far, the most popular social network among young adults. Battery Ventures reports that among its survey respondents, Facebook had three times as many account holders who said they logged in at least once a week as compared to Snapchat, 2.75 times as many as Pinterest, and 2.5 times the number of frequent users on Twitter. Instagram comes closest to Facebook in terms of active usage. The moral of the story is that while there are some millennials who opt out of social media entirely, some choose to use just one social network. And in most cases, you can expect that social network to be Facebook.

3. But people who are concerned about privacy and security often opt out of Facebook

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Source: iStock

Battery Ventures found that “concerns about privacy, trust, and security are more prevalent among those who are not on Facebook” than among other groups of millennials. “Facebook was the only social network in our survey that had as many respondents reporting they ‘used to have an account but cancelled it’ as never having had an account in the first place.”  And while the privacy policy pages for social networks like Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter “all look like standard legal documents,” Facebook “has made significant investments in a clearer and more thorough user interface” to explain and reassure users about how it approaches privacy. But for many privacy-minded users, that likely isn’t enough to convince them to hand over their personal data to the biggest social network in the world.

4. Some millennials leave social networks after discovering drawbacks

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Source: iStock

The Guardian spoke with a handful of millennials who don’t use social media at all, and found that they cite a number of different reasons for avoiding social networks or deactivating the accounts they used to have. In spite of the fact that social networks like Facebook enable users to keep up relationships and ties — as Pew research indicated in 2010 — some noted that the glut of personal information is overwhelming. Others note that keeping up with social media takes too much time, and posting details about your life online opens you up to scrutiny by others. While there certainly are millennials who have never had a social media account, there are also millennials who have been social media users and have changed their habits.

5. Young millennials are moving toward private exchanges instead of public posts

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Source: iStock

It’s an often-discussed trend that young millennials are shifting toward sharing private messages and posts and away from posting every detail of their lives publicly, for all of their extended social networks to see. As Entrepreneur reports, “Teens tend to lurk way more than they post” on social networks like Facebook, while private conversations and groups are at the center of how they use social networks. (That probably explains why the ephemeral nature of things like Snapchat stories appeal to younger millennials.) Some millennials opt just to use messaging apps instead of social networks, which is a logical choice if they’re looking to have private conversations instead of creating public posts.

6. Some are demographically less likely to use social media

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Source: iStock

While this may be the least interesting explanation for people who aren’t social scientists or statisticians, Pew reports that just as age is correlated with social media usage, there are other demographic trends at play, too. Women and men use social networks at comparable rates, but consumers with higher levels of educational attainment are more likely to be social media users than those with a high school diploma or less. At the same time, social networks have been adopted at roughly the same pace among whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, while consumers living in more affluent households are more likely to be social media users. And while those who live in rural communities have historically been the least likely to use social media, a majority of rural residents now use social networks.

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