Last week, Lena Dunham, writer and star of the HBO series Girls, announced that she is no longer managing her twitter account due to an overload of trolls. By trolls, I mean, people who start arguments online by posting inflammatory comments with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. On her Re/code Decode Radio interview last week she stated, “I don’t want to have my safety compromised. In terms of comments, I don’t want teenage girls to see me post a personal picture and then see comments saying that I’m obese and that anyone that looks like me is repulsive, and I deserve to be dragged around and smacked.”
Like Dunham, many celebrities have experienced similar situations through online networking communities and, as a result, are now having someone else manage their accounts or have cancelled them all together. So after 10 years of social networking hitting its true stride, why are Millennials and Generation Z jumping off the social bandwagon?
It’s self-evident that when social networking platforms begin to mature, their growing member base includes more trolling. However, these toxic environments do not only involve trolls, they also involve a false sense of perception that people use for “professional” promotion. The social networking platform’s original purpose was to share personal experiences with friends and family. Now it has become an idealized-centric community resulting in self-deprecating jealously and borderline addiction.
The social networking platform’s secondary purpose was to keep you abreast on relevant news. Even then, more online magazines such as Gawker, Dish and more, tend to focus more on celebrity gossip, creating more opportunities for trolls enjoy seeing people make mistakes. In most cases, the accusations and articles that are posted about these celebrities are fabricated.
Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s son, deleted his Twitter account earlier this year as well. Jaden’s account, filled with deep inspiring quotes such as, “How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eye’s Aren’t Real,” is more than likely the reason for his sudden departure. For someone as young as Jaden, he’s on point. Although, he’s back on Twitter today, he is one of many Generation Z’s that have chosen to move, at least a portion of, their life’s experiences offline.
Millennials and Generation Z’s becoming more aware of their digital footprint and transitioning to the offline world is a reflection of their increased desire for privacy. It doesn’t surprise us that this trend is occurring. The immediate gratification that social media provides, as people seek attention from their peers, is short lived. What these generations are beginning to understand with social media is that, as soon as you look away from your desktop, laptop, or smartphone, the self-perpetuating noise and clutter ultimately stops.