Generation Y Not? Take a chance on the market changing the nation
As a 24-year-old Millennial, I’ve heard my generation defined in less than exemplary descriptions. Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are also called Generation Y, Digital Natives, Echo Boomers and Generation Me or We. If you think most of us are only concerned with where the next Happy Hour special is, think again.
Millennials are a significant populace and if you want to understand our culture and how it’s changing, listen to what we’re saying and become familiar with where we are saying it.
My generation has grown up in a time of ever-changing and evolving social movements, political disputes and scientific and technological breakthroughs. We grew up playing computer games on monitors bigger than most televisions (remember Oregon Trail?) and consider technology as critical to our everyday life. Smartphones aren’t novel; they’re extensions of our hands. We hear stories that once upon a time you’d have to refer to an actual book called a dictionary to look up a definition or unfold (and refold) a physical road map to find the best directions. You may think we take advantage of the resources at our fingertips, but to us, technology is the most obvious way to process and analyze the information we are given daily.
Professional communicators know it’s important to include this group in communication plans. Millennials are growing within the work force and as we age, we’re leading consumer behavior and accounting for significant share of dollars in the economy. The Financial Planning Association looked at investing habits of Millennials and found that we have an estimated $1 trillion in spending power. Hiring? Chances are your company is focusing on the talents of people my age or slightly older. Selling? You guessed it, Millennials will probably be buying.
So how do we operate? What are we talking about and where? Below is some inside scoop about my Gen Y brothers and sisters.
Social media #eatsleeptweet
People assume that social media consumes a large amount of our day and, being completely honest, most of us are guilty as charged. A recent article from Ragan’s PR Daily said Millennials spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes on digital media every day. It’s no surprise that Facebook monitoring takes place before we check our email or a news publication each day but it shouldn’t necessarily be viewed negatively. This is just our way of getting our customized daily news from our inner circles along with companies and organizations we “like.” Much like the ol’ neighborhood wave back in the day, “liking” a page is our way of saying hello.
As reported by the Huffington Post in 2011, Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the United States, YouTube serves as the second largest search engine in the world and 90 percent of consumers value the recommendations of their peers as opposed to the 14 percent who trust advertisers. Promoting news, creating an engaging presence/page/conversation and advertising on sites such as YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more allow for companies to be genuinely connected with this group.
Millennials are willing to pay their dues
The Great Recession has made career-hopefuls my age realize that they can’t put on their best outfit with some references in their pocket and walk to the local business asking for a job. The world of professional communication is cut-throat and Millennials have had to deal with the harsh reality that finding a job isn’t easy. It takes months; years even, to get a foot in the door. You may wonder why so many “hipsters” are working in the local coffee shop down the street. Don’t label them as lazy just yet. It may be because the 20 resumes they sent out and many hours of filling out applications that week haven’t resulted in a better job yet. We are ready and willing to work and will bring with us fresh perspectives that could benefit your company. Need someone to build a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn presence or strategy?
We don’t all strive to be famous
We live in a world where Kim Kardashian and Pauly D seem to dominate our televisions, laptops and smartphones, but Millennials don’t see these “celebrities” as role models. We shake our heads and laugh at these people just as much as you do. Enough said.
Millennials aren’t selfish
Some people claim Millennials are the most cool-obsessed and brand conscious generation, but it is important to avoid confusing this with selfishness. According to Morley Winograd and Michael Hais, co-authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics, Millennials are the most civic-minded since the generation growing up in the 1930s and 1940s. “This is a generation of activist doers.” Research shows that 81 percent of young people aged 13-25 volunteered in the previous 12 months and 69 percent considered a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop. Gen Y knows how to pay it forward!
Still rocking the vote
With the 2012 election approaching, Millennials are using this time to make their political voices heard. According to a report published by Civic Youth, an estimated 23 million young Americans under 30 voted in 2008 which was a 3.4 million increase from the previous presidential election. Forty percent of Millennials were eligible to vote in 2008 and now 60 percent of this group will be of voting age during the current election. This figure works out to more than 58 million potential voters. Gen Y realizes that these elections directly affect their future and their involvement has continuously increased.
Millennials have an important impact on the world we live in today. We are more than a Ray-Ban wearing, graphic tee making, espresso drinking culture. We are a work hard/play hard group that is enthusiastic about the future. Most importantly, we have strong opinions and active voices that we aren’t afraid to use.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go update my Facebook status.