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How Gen Z and Millennials Use Social Media and What They Want to See Next: Cheddar Survey

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A young adult friend group shares things from social media with each other on their various mobile devices. View from above looking down at the phones. Credit: RyanJLane via Getty Images
Young adults are using social media to get their news on topics most important to them, including social justice and education, according to a new survey by Cheddar News. Cheddar asked Gen Z and Millennial-aged Facebook and Instagram users about several topics including how they use social media, buying cryptocurrency, and the future job market. 
The social media survey was conducted from June 9 to June 25, 2021. Questions were asked of 537 users aged 18-44 sourced from Cheddar News' Facebook and Instagram pages. 
The online users overwhelmingly (72 percent) responded that they use the internet to gather news. Of those polled, more than half said that they were interested in issues related to social justice, the highest percentage. The next most important issues to this cohort included education, the economy, and healthcare reform, respectively. Climate change ranked fifth. 
Despite the widespread interest in these issues, just 14 percent of respondents believe that their concerns are being well-heard by the Biden administration. Forty-three percent think there needs to be more interaction between lawmakers and young people in the country. And three in 10 would like to see more young people elected to office. 
In the survey, taken before the latest federal eviction moratorium was issued on August 3, of those concerned about the economy, 65 percent said the government should extend the moratorium to protect renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week the Supreme Court rejected the latest extension. 
Eighty-three percent of that same group of respondents believe the government should provide more assistance to those severely affected by the pandemic, especially as infection, hospitalization, and death rates are continuing to climb. 
Sixty-nine percent of respondents interested in education said the government should cancel student loan debt in response to the coronavirus. The Biden administration canceled nearly $6 billion in student debt and extended payment and interest forbearance in August after this survey was taken.
While social justice was noted as an issue of concern to the highest number of respondents, just 17 percent report being very involved in a social justice movement. Many more report being somewhat involved (64 percent). 

Technology and Government 

Technology is an ever-present theme in the lives of young adults and the survey showed this in a myriad of ways. Of those interested in technology, there is an overwhelming consensus (84 percent) that emerging and innovative technologies should be available to the general public. But only 35 percent believe technology is currently being used to its full potential. 
The survey also asked the audience about its preferences for communication. More than four in 10 report willingness to engage with a lawmaker or advocacy group; of those, most would prefer to interact on Instagram — the top choice. Facebook ranked second. That aligned with users' preferred social media platforms. Eighty-three percent said they have an active Instagram account (82 percent) followed by Facebook (76 percent), Twitter (49 percent), TikTok (39 percent), and Reddit (26 percent).
So what kinds of governmental content would they be interested in on TikTok specifically? Twenty-one percent of respondents said they would like videos explaining policy, 20 percent would like behind-the-scenes videos of Congress, and 18 percent would like information on the citizenship process.  

Business and Money

As a network that covers business, Cheddar News is uniquely interested in the spending and investing habits of various audiences on social media and live linear television. Survey respondents provided fascinating insights into the coveted 18-44 population when it comes to buying, selling, and saving. 
Of those interviewed, 79 percent said they do not currently own any cryptocurrency, although, among that group, 10 percent have truly considered buying. Fifteen percent think they might make a purchase of digital currency in the next six months. Nearly half of the total respondents believe the stock market has a better long-term future for investment than cryptocurrency, indicating more of a traditional viewpoint of finances.
Looking more broadly, only 34 percent of those surveyed would support shifting to a cashless society. One in four carry cash on a daily basis and nearly one in five paid cash for something on the day they took the survey, further indicating more of a reliance on cash currency than some trends suggest. 
In terms of future trends, a majority of those interviewed (64 percent) feel prepared to take on the jobs of the future. To better prepare the coming generation for a shifting job market, they suggested enhancing education in the field of general life skills (74 percent), financial literacy (68 percent), and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (66 percent). 
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