Social media has become an intricate part of Generation Z's life. They were born into the digital age and some have had a digital footprint even before they were born. The impact of social media has its pros and cons, but it has brought about a 'compare culture' that we have seen take over the generation.
Popular photography platform VSCO conducted a study where they asked their Gen Z'ers, about 75 percent of their users, how social media has affected their lives. The study reinforces the weight that a like, comment, or follow can hold ー something that VSCO does not offer.
"VSCO, the community, was born out of a place not so much for you to share how you want the world to see you, but more importantly how you want the world to see your voice," Joel Flory, co-founder and CEO of VSCO, told Cheddar on Wednesday. He emphasized that he and his business partner wanted to create a platform where individuals could create and be who they are without being judged, which is why they chose to move away from the like, comment, and follower features.
Social media is shaping the way Gen Z lives, feels, and expresses who they are. The VSCO study revealed that 82 percent of the generation holds back from posting because of a fear of what others may think.
Social media influencers play a part in today's 'compare culture' and what we see in our feed. "You'll see two different worlds," Flory said, "You'll see this curated world in which they are showing kind of a brand of themselves and on VSCO it's where they can be themselves."
With people constantly comparing themselves on social media, it has opened up conversations regarding stress and mental health. Now some individuals are prioritizing self-care as part of their daily digital routine.
"They are so keenly aware of mental health, the negative impacts of social media, they almost have a playbook in which they are navigating and they are looking for outlets," Flory emphasized. Companies, like VSCO, are on a mission to create a service, an experience, and build a community.
While VSCO wasn't specifically built for this younger generation, they have flocked to the app as an outlet.
"Over 77 percent of people on VSCO in the survey mentioned they are not doing it for other people, they are creating for themselves," Flory said.