How Social Media Has Changed Communication Between Generations

Having the ability to communicate is an important life skill for a human being. Communication helps people solve problems and get access to and mobilize essential resources needed for survival. That is why organizations take communication strategies seriously, noting that effective communication boosts performance while ineffective communication hurts productivity. Nevertheless, communication has generally changed through generations, which influences its effectiveness in organizations. According to Weston, the difference in communication between generations is one of the causes of miscommunication and misinterpretation in healthcare (1). In addition, one of the key differences between Generation Z and later generations is the consumption of digital media, especially social media. As such, this paper interrogates the literature on how social media has changed communication between generations.   


The change in communication due to social media can be traced to the beginning of social media. This happened in 1997 as a precursor of the internet and marked the consequent start of a new generation – Generation Z. According to PewReserach Center, Generation Z was the first to experience digital media and has spent all their lives seeing the evolution of digital technology, including the advancement in social media (Dimock par.11). As such, they are the generation that coined the primitive digital communications, upon which later generations like Millenials have built on the current sophisticated communication models and behavior. However, experts in nursing education note that the sophistication has morphed to a level that is, to an extent, severe since “digital devices have made it harder for Gen Z to have face-to-face conversations,” which is essential for nurse leaders coaching (Sherman 6).

As such, one of the changes between Generation Z and later generations is the perpetual erosion of face-to-face communication. Drago is among the scholars who have delved into how digital media is changing communication, and in one of his papers, he notes that social media has contributed largely to the degradation of face-to-face communication (Drago 1). Additionally, the findings are consistent with (Sherman 6) that the increase in the consumption of ditigal media is directly linked to the decrease in interest for traditional methods and forms of communication, including face-to-face communication. That is why when comparing communication needs for generations, the Millenials and Generation Z tend to avoid face-to-face communication compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X  (NDMU n.p). This is severe on many fronts, especially where face-to-face communication is needed, such as in client care. A study has found “a need for dialogue and a good interpersonal climate that develops personally with each person” encouraged in customer care(Kourkouta and Papathanasiou 67). As such, it seems the potential of Gen Z compared to other generations regarding communication should be further probed.

First, it is crucial to understand this generation. Generation Z nursing students’ attributes and particular interests in educational methods and tactics should be considered when building professional educational experiences to improve their effectiveness and satisfaction among students, nursing professors, and tutors (Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras 2). Generation Z student nurses have different perspectives, perceptions, social conventions, and habits that influence nursing practice and education (Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras 2). Further, some nursing educators claim that Generation Z’s social networking usage and features determined the most beneficial and desired instructional methods throughout clinical training for student nurses (Hilton n.p).

            From that perspective, social media lowers the productivity of Generation Z staff since they spend more time on social media. This argument is not ignorant of the positive use of social media in healthcare, such as HCPs using their social media to connect to a vast network of professioanls, create awareness of some critical health issues, or educate the community. Nevertheless, uncontrolled use of social media can lead to low productivity, especially in the light that social media are addictive. A study in Texas on healthcare practitioners found that, on average, the majority of Millenials and Generation Z, compared to former generations, spent one hour on social media during work hours (Surani et al. 1). That means one hour of productivity is lost for staff in the younger generations compared to older generations, which is arguably one reason most organizations implement a social media policy. Still focusing on the differences in generations, Generation Z spent more time than other generations on social media.

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In the clinical education by Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras, a mean of 1.37 hours (SD = 1.15) is spent on social networks by Gen Z (5). Notably, the study relied on an expert committee that created and verified a 41-item assessment, where 120 learners were encompassed in the study sample. Some of the most exciting teaching methods for them are connecting mentoring training to medical experiences (SD = 0.88, x = 3.51), online videos or tutorials (SD = 0.78, x = 3.22), interactive games (SD = 1.14, x = 3.09), and virtual classrooms (SD = 1.05, x = 3) (Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras 4). In terms of generational traits, the majority agreed or strongly agreed that they are cravers of the digital environment and high-tech users (90.1 percent, 80 percent, and n = 108, n = 96, respectively) (Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras, 5). This merans that it is critical to broaden the existing understanding of the utility or potential use of instructional approaches throughout clinical erudition, especially given the rapidly changing environment caused by the Covid-19 epidemic. Vizcaya-Moreno & Pérez-Cañaveras provide extensive and critical insights that can be significant in my study, which is focused on education – a critical societal component that cannot be overlooked. Online learning has gained momentum, more so during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shilpa Gaidhani, Lokesh Arora, and Bhuvanesh Kumar Sharma investigate Gen Z’s attitude toward labor. They claim that Gen Z was born and raised with modern technology, “highly connected, living in an era of high-tech communication, technology-driven lifestyles and prolific use of social media” (Gaidhani et al., 2806). Before, this group started to work in firms, but nothing was acknowledged regarding their traits, requirements, qualities, or approach to work. They possess distinct work mindsets than Gen Y and Gen X, and without a thorough grasp of this generation, businesses will struggle to employ and keep them to maintain long-term success (Gaidhani et al., 2811). Corporations may evaluate what can affect their retention and recruiting performance by studying what makes this group click in the place of work by studying them. Authors argue that understanding what is pertinent to Gen Z will bolster attraction within and outside of the company and will establish a company culture and worksite. This has been associated with providing a unique edge in the search for the best employees in Gen Z, allowing them to stabilize corporate development and remain a victorious corporation throughout (Mawhinney and Betts n.p). Work is a pertinent area of concern as far as generation Z is concerned. The details captured in this article are tremendously helpful to researchers and companies seeking to customize their working environment to accommodate Generation Z employees. The content presented is insightful, relevant, and timely.

Once such attributes of Gen Z are understood, it is then important to appreciate that each generation has it’s good and bad in communication matters. Every generation has its unique features, which are influenced and often changed drastically by developments in various world realms. According to Ordun, people ought to get ready for the coming of a younger age group to control the world (40). A massive quantity of data is nowadays as near as a mobile phone, and the preceding conventions and standards of doing things ought to be restructured and reformed to suit the novel prospects. The millennials are negatively regarded as indolent, irresponsible, restless, apathetic, avaricious, impolite, and even misplaced (Ordun 40). However, Ordun agrees with Law (n.p) that Gen Z people are open-minded, friendly, inventive, lively, aggressive, assertive, dedicated, as well as bright from an optimistic viewpoint. They all seem to possess a common trait: they relish shopping. The critical subject and basis for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems is the habit of consumers, noting that “consumer motivations and purchase engagement often lie below the surface of age” (Ordun 44). Therefore, it is crucial to evaluate and grasp the incentives as well as patterns that reinforce shopping conduct. The primary objective of Odrum’s article was to find out if the millennial generation’s purchasing behaviors differ from those of preceding age groups. The study’s secondary goal is to see if millennials’ customer retention is linked to other factors influencing their purchase decisions. Cost (fairness of compensation), trend, and quality are the leading factors utilized in the research. Other factors include loyalty, preeminence (reputation and respect), the name of the company, a good fit, high quality, a suggestion, public service announcement, the atmosphere, accessibility, assortment, and service.

Millennials are the world’s second-largest populace in existence (Odrum 45). This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. For the time being, they are university learners, but they will be in charge of the workplace in a few years. Existing executives are wary, uneasy, and even concerned about their workforce entry. However, they have already begun to control the marketplace from a different perspective. They directly impact their parents’ purchasing decisions, not simply due to their purchasing power (Ordun 45). So, whether we are talking about managers or retailers, we need to grasp their perspectives, sentiments, decision-making processes, and conduct. Due to the disposition of their qualities, they are anxious for connection, but only with someone they can trust. So, rather than attempting to become one of them, they will allow you to join their social connection if you comprehend them. Furthermore, based on the study findings, if you can join their social connection as a trustworthy cradle, you may be able to influence their conduct. The findings recorded by Guven Ordun are fair, precise, and realistic. It is clear that technology has and is advancing at a tremendous speed, and as a result, e-commerce has taken shape. Therefore, having a flawless insight into the purchasing habits of the various generations will help business executives in their productivity and marketing. This will significantly help them have access to a large market.

The last concern on the impact of social media is how it will change communication for the future generations. It is important to fist appreaciate that digital media continue to evolve, revolustioning both behavior and paradigms around critical human functions lile in this case, communication. To be precise, there is no turning back, as more studies are applying their micro, meso, and macro-level theories to understand the future utilitarian value of social media (Humphreys). Most sectors are adopting digital communications, and that includes social media in critical activities, including education, networking, virtual presence, and artificial intelligence. Regardless of the generation, most schools are not adopting online classes, which are at times incorporated with social media to give prompt updates. That puts Gen Z at an advantage over former generations but informs that future education is intertwined with digital communication and likely social media. Besides, networking is crucial for both professional and personal growth. This is, in fact, the stronghold of social media since it enables connecting with people of similar interests and forming online communities that can add value to people (Sreenivasan n.p). As such, it is likely that in the future, there will see e national, regional, or global forums powered by social media, something more massive than the current hashtags to achieve some goals. Besides, social media will ease logistics by incorporating an extensive virtual presence, where people can meet virtually and achieve their goals. This is already kicking off, as seen in webinars and telemedicine, and social media is at an ideal place with the potential to it practical in many professional fields of practice.