Embarrassing Dads are killing Centennials’ (and younger Millennials’) Facebook usage


I’ve spent most of this week doing interviews. I’m combing for the next batch of talent to join immediate future. It’s something that I thoroughly enjoy, particularly when a vacant role is entry level. There is an unbridled enthusiasm and honesty that you only experience from people looking to make their way into industry. I will never tire of seeing the eyes in our potential staff light up when they see our pink neon lights, or wooden gazebo meeting room, or indeed our famed gin bar for the first time. You can vividly see excitement in their eyes.

Amongst the many questions and scenarios put to our interviewees, I’m always keen to know what Social Media networks they have profiles on, and which do they favour?

Gathering information and then determining what to do with it (for the best) is the essence of marketing, and business. Born is 1977, I was raised on a diet of Only Fools and Horses and puzzles. A typical Saturday night would see me parked watching Sir David Jason’s latest portrayal of Del Trotter, whilst doing a puzzle of sorts with my grandparents. Decades on and I’m still puzzle solving. Today I’m doing it for brands wanting us to unlock their brand potential, removing hurdles and challenges that exist on their path to digital nirvana. Or, I’m problem solving for the business figuring out how to further elevate IF, our team, it’s culture, our innovation and grow our already enviable client roster. It’s why I love being an MD.

Those who know me well will tell you I love getting back to the floor and being hands on. I still lead strategic and creative direction for clients, and as you probably know, I’m heavily involved in our international scale live broadcasts. I don’t think the team will ever be able to totally prise me away. I just love problem-solving and creating something to be proud of.

Which brings me back to the social problem flagged by our potential IFers. I’ve interviewed over 20 people this week and when asked what social profiles do you possess, they all replied: “I’m on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.” Ok so they didn’t all list them in that order, but the important point is they all listed them.

“What networks do you prefer?” I ask.

I use Snapchat the most to chat to my friends. I like Instagram the best. I’m on Facebook, but I don’t really like it.” they said – in various ways.

The last part is what intrigues me most. Why don’t you like Facebook? I enquire. “Well, my Dad is always on it, much more than I am. He tags me into everything, so of course all my mates see everything he posts. I hate it.”

Upon further questioning, I determine that culpable Dads are typically born in the 50s, 60s or 70s. I am one of said Dads. As parents we’re proud of everything our children do. We enjoy reminding them of how cute or innocent they once were. It’s a throwback that makes parents feel nostalgic, and we get a hit of dopamine in the process. We feel great. The same cannot be said of our Centennials and young Millennials.

Whilst much has changed in society from my 80s and 90s school years, one thing that hasn’t is the banter. School yard ribbing and joshing is alive and well. Now, I’m absolutely not advocating any form of bullying. It’s disgusting and has no place. But, should one do something daft or even embarrassing, close friends are duty bound to jest. It’s school breaktime law.

Back to Facebook; the Social Media giant born on a college campus and initially framed at networking together college campuses and school yards globally. It’s a network built with upon functionality that connects us, fostering meaningful relationships. Or, at least that’s what Zuck said amongst his robotic exchange with Senators.

The very technology and code that helps parent foster nostalgia (and dopamine hits), is the very functionality that places our youth into the joshing and jesting zone. It’s the equivalent of a Dad walking into a school yard and passing around a picture of little Robert from 10-years ago, showing him wearing a cute cap, a slightly too big blazer and oversized shorts portraying an image of the Hovis boy.

Can you imagine the ribbing? “Look at the state of you!” or much worse.

But that’s what we have with Facebook. And this is why Centennials and younger Millennials are favouring other platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. There are only so many times a youngster can stomach the photo albums coming out and being shown to friends. Ok, so this is probably a digital version today, rather than an actual leather-bound album, but like I said earlier, I’m a 70s child.

The tagging feature favoured by proud parents wanting to share their nostalgic memories is the very functionality fostering a distain amongst our youth. The irony of course, this is the technology and functionality that enabled the Facebook explosion from Harvard, to Stanford, and onto global domination.

10-years ago society urged caution against posting inappropriate social content that your boss may end up seeing. Carful, it could impact your career wrongly!

Today, Centennials and young Millennials biggest fear is around what content Dad may post into feeds.


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