Half of Gen Z ‘use social media to make themselves look more interesting’

Young adults hiding behind fake personas and being driven by ‘influencers’, poll suggests

Lucy Brimble
Thursday 16 June 2022 00:05 BST
Huge numbers of young adults put on a front in apps like Instagram in order to seem happier, poll suggests
Huge numbers of young adults put on a front in apps like Instagram in order to seem happier, poll suggests (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Half of Gen Z claim social media is the only place they can truly be themselves, according to a poll that also found young adults are using platforms like Tiktok to make it appear their lives are more exciting than in reality.

A study of 1,000 people aged between 18 and 25 found more than one-fifth generally did not like to expose their true personality, with three in 10 being more self-expressive online.

As many as 58 per cent found having an online presence made them feel more comfortable in their own skin, while 34 per cent thought this was made easier by taking on a persona.

Lack of confidence (55 per cent), pressure from society (34 per cent) and judgement from others (42 per cent) were among the top reasons why young people struggled with being themselves.

Half owned up to having a “secret” alter ego they hid behind, and a similar proportion used social media to try and make their life seem more exciting than it really is.

The research was commissioned by Adobe. Simon Morris, the company’s vice president of marketing, said: “We know that we’re in a new era of self-expression and the next generation are more likely than ever to break barriers and make their own rules, but sometimes showing this in the real world can be daunting.”

The survey found that 40 per cent of respondents thought being comfortable in their own skin was something that comes with age, with one-fifth saying they would not show their true colours until their 40s.

Instagram, Facebook and TikTok are the top platforms young people use the most to be self-expressive. Music (30 per cent) and fashion (27 per cent) were named the best ways to display one’s true personality.

The research, carried out via OnePoll, also found two-thirds of Gen Z had been been positively influenced by a public figure – with Harry Styles, Zendaya and David Bowie featuring in the top 20 list.

For half of respondents, these people had inspired them to look after what was important to them, while 45 per cent had been encouraged to be more creative.

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