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Millennials post fake vacation photos yet ironically they trust social media

Staff Writer |
More than one third (36%) of Millennials (ages 18-34) have aimed to deceive their followers by posting social media vacation images that make trips look better than they are, according to the 10th annual 2018 Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Global Assistance.

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The study found that 15% of Gen X'ers (ages 35 – 54) and five% of Baby Boomers (ages 55+) have done the same.

Of those who confessed to this social media deception, 65% do so in an attempt to make others envious, while 51% use it as an opportunity to compete with others who do the same.

Of all respondents, guilty of social media deception or not, men are slightly more likely than women to post vacation photos on social media to make friends/family jealous (men: 28% and women: 16%) and compete with others (men: 22% and women: eight%).

Millennials may be known for their attachment to technology while sleeping, working and traveling, but the new report sheds light on how and why they use social media to document and inspire their wanderlust.

Millennials are more likely than any other age group to document their travel on social media, but the reasons for doing so vary: 63% post about their vacations on social media to look back on the trip with rose-colored glasses; 58% to share photos in which they look best; 52% to post photos in which their surroundings look best; 37% to make friends/family jealous; and 27% to compete with others who post pictures of their own vacations.

Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers are not immune to the lure of social media in order to: look back on a trip (Gen X'ers: 46% and Baby Boomers: 23%); share photos in which they look best (Gen X'ers: 45% and Baby Boomers: 20%) and in which their surroundings look best (Gen X'ers: 44% and Baby Boomers: 15%); provoke jealousy (Gen X'ers: 20% and Baby Boomers: nine%) and compete with others (Gen X'ers: 14% and Baby Boomers: three%).

Ironically, those who have used social media in a deceptive manner are more likely to trust social media posts from users, brands and media.

Of the respondents who posted on social media to make their vacation look better than reality, 87% trust posts from people they personally know; 69% trust those from brands; 69% trust media organizations/news outlets and 60% trust social users they do not know personally, including celebrities and social media influencers.

Of all respondents, whether or not they've engaged in social media deception, 86% trust the accuracy of social media posts from people they know personally; 55% from brands; 46% from media organizations/news outlets and 31% from users they do not know.

With the role social media plays in the lives of Millennials, more than half (51%) feel that social media posts influence their own travel planning choices.

Three in ten Americans of all age groups admit their travel planning choices are somewhat or very influenced by social media posts.

Despite the prevalence of social media influencers working with destinations and brands, these respondents are still most influenced by posts of friends and family (63%), over posts from media and news organizations (11%), users they do not know personally (nine%) or brands (eight%).

Half (49%) of Americans say Facebook is the social media platform that most inspires them to travel, followed by Instagram (35%), Pinterest (19%), Twitter (13%) and Snapchat (13%).

More than a third (34%) say that social media platforms do not inspire them to travel.

Women are more likely to be inspired by Pinterest (25% of woman compared to 12% of men) and men by Twitter (20% of men compared to seven% of women).


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