The Dramatic Difference Between the Way Baby Boomers and Millennials Use Facebook

Facebook was originally available to college students only. In 2005, high school students were allowed to get in on the fun. Then in September 2006, the social media platform became available to anyone with a valid email address.  Today, nearly anyone can have a Facebook page — 13 year-olds to grandparents. Or for the purposes of this article, millennials to baby boomers.

The interesting part of Facebook’s wide demographic span is how its users are utilizing the site. Considering a person’s news feed now includes political banter, current news, and advertisements, millennials and baby boomers are using Facebook in drastically different ways. 

1. Baby boomers: use Facebook to reconnect with old friends

Seniors drinking

It makes it all so much easier. | Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images

The sudden discovery that nearly all of the lost connections between high school and college friends could be solved by doing a deep search on Facebook is a game-changer for baby boomers. Pre-Facebook days, it was email, snail mail, and the occasional phone call that kept people connected. The platform allows for revolutionary changes to be made to friendships that had been previously lost.

Next: Millennials and their Facebook networks

2. Millennials: use Facebook to connect with new friends

Group of friends partying in a nightclub and toasting drinks.

It’s more about connecting with new people. | jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

When Facebook emerged, millennials sent friend requests to their current social circles. From that point, making and adding new friends was the most exciting part of the social platform. Sure, every now and then an old high school acquaintance may send a friend request, but for the most part, it’s the fresh and everchanging newness of expanding social networks that keep millennials interested.

Next: The value of this capability is priceless for many baby boomers.

3. Baby boomers: value family connections

Grandparents With Children

They want to see family updates. | omgimages/iStock/Getty Images

Long distance relatives feel the pangs from the miles of separation, but Facebook helps to ease the aches. Posting photos and sharing videos makes family members feel closer together — especially for the parents and grandparents. These days, knowing exactly what a niece, nephew, or grandchild is doing for the weekend can usually be discovered by a quick Facebook login.

Next: Millennials have a different stance on Facebook family ties.

4. Millennials: prefer to not have family connections

They’re not interested in sharing everything with family. | iStock/Getty Images

When Aunt Barbara surfaced with a Facebook account, millennials went nuts. The fun times seemed to be over. You see, the party photos are less exciting to share when Aunt Barbara may be scrolling through them. It comes as little surprise to learn that Instagram receives more engagement from the millennial demographic than Facebook, and that is largely in part to users feeling like Instagram is the what Facebook used to be — sans the parents.

Next: A tell-tale sign of oversharing.

5. Baby boomers: tend to overshare

Cheerful lady teaching her mother to use laptop

They feel comfortable sharing everything. | YakobchukOlena/iStock/Getty Images

Facebook offers a platform for users to feel that they can really cut loose and get to sharing. The details shared by the baby boomer demographic are very in-depth. In fact, a recent study suggests that users feeling insecure within their real-life relationships often become more active, possibly oversharing on Facebook. Active baby boomer Facebookers sometimes share cursory thoughts and banter that seem more appropriate to ask a close friend, not an entire social network.

Next: The highlight reel is real.

6. Millennials: share the highlights of their lives

Tourist enjoying romantic Burano island of Venice in Italy

They want you to know about their vacations not their struggles. | grinvalds/iStock/Getty Images

Millennials using Facebook and Instagram tend to share the highlight reel of their lives — all the glitz and the glamour, none of the unattractive stuff. And even though it may be awe-inspiring to watch Facebook friends take exotic trips, have the perfect marriage, and frequent all the best events, it’s simply not real. Millennials find themselves comparing their everyday lifestyles to another person’s best moments in life.

Next: Where do you get your news? 

7. Baby boomers: do not use Facebook as their sole news source

Senior couple

They get their news elsewhere. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

While it difficult to ignore Facebook’s bombardment of political propaganda and news, baby boomers are not using Facebook as their primary news source. In fact, only 7 percent of them take to the platform to get their news. Instead, over half get their news from the TV. This is largely due to televisions becoming increasingly more popular during their upbringing.

Next: Millennials are lucky if they get the real news.

8. Millennials: use Facebook as their primary news source

Young african american woman sitting in a coffee shop and working on laptop

Millennials don’t watch television like before. | jacoblund/iStock/Getty Images

Millennials are not watching the television for current events and breaking news. 64 percent of the younger ones (ages 18 to 24) receive their news online with an additional 33 percent getting it straight from social media. That means only 24 percent are taking to the television.

Next: The trickery that happens on the internet can be dangerous.

9. Baby boomers: more likely to fall for scams

Millennial teaches senior baby boomer technology

Scammers know how to target Baby Boomers. | franz12/iStock/Getty Images

The internet is chock full of scams, and Facebook is no exception. Whether falling for a product scam or befriending unknown users, the opportunities for a shakedown are practically around every corner. An even more far-fetched hoax comes by way of scammers using a random Facebook user’s photos to create charity funds on sites like Gofundme.com. It’s all the more reason to keep privacy settings up to date.

Next: Growing up with the internet gives millennials an upper hand.

10. Millennials: less likely to fall for scams

man sending text message using mobile phone

They can typically smell a scam. | Ondine32/iStock/Getty Images

Millennials are far savvier when it comes to sniffing out scams on the internet. After all, they grew up with it. While Instagram is laden with users following other users and influencers they will probably never meet, there appears to be less risk when it comes to scams on Instagram. However, when a random person friends a millennial on Facebook, not only is it considered creepy, but it is a red flag with “scam” written all over it.

Next: The convenience of the internet puts marriages under fire.

11. Baby boomers: use Facebook to rekindle old flames

Happy romantic couple embracing on the beach

They’re looking for the one that got away. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

The reality is that nearly everyone has a Facebook page. It’s actually refreshing when someone doesn’t have one. So while seeking out a past lost love can be exhilarating for singles still looking to mingle, it is a surefire way to ruin an otherwise great marriage. Yet, so many baby boomers fall into the rabbit hole. Reconnecting with old flames may seem innocent at first, but the continued interaction can often open the doors to a full-blown affair.

Next: The younger crowd has a different approach to hooking up.

12. Millennials: use Tinder and other sites to kindle new flames

Tinder app

Tinder is more popular for dating than Facebook. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

Sure, a portion of millennials strike up romances on Facebook, but those romances pale in comparison to those that happen by way of Tinder and other dating networks. The dating site Match.com is Tinder’s parent company, and while it was initially thought of as a “hook-up app,” some individuals manage to create lasting relationships with the “hook-up.”

Next: The constant feed of DIY projects is maddening.

13. Baby boomers: use Facebook to bookmark sites

TO GO WITH US-IT-Internet-IPO-Facebook-Asia,FOCUS by Dan Martin

They share what they want to see again. | Ted Aljibe/GettyImages

It’s understandable that a user would want to hold onto the recipe they stumbled upon while scrolling through their news feed. But resharing every DIY post is simply unnecessary. It’s these habits that lend itself to the notion that baby boomers are less familiar with the “bookmark” feature in their browser and more familiar with the “share” button.

Next: There’s an app for that.

14. Millennials: use the browser’s bookmark to keep track

woman typing on laptop

They save it to other spots. | StockRocket/iStock/Getty Images

When a millennial finds something they love, something they must remember at all costs, they take to Pinterest or even Amazon Spark for products. These days, there is a platform for practically everything, including filing away favorite social media posts.

Next: A piece of common ground, after all.

15. Political ads may be taking advantage of all the demographics

Man and woman look at a computer in cafe.

Both generations are falling for things online. | Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Facebook users far and wide, regardless of demographic, have allegedly fallen victim to the political advertisement manipulations associated with the “Russia Investigation.” Even though Facebook and other websites are facing stricter rules for ads in the future, it does not change the fact that users are receiving ads catering to their political slants.

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