This may not come as a shock to most but we are currently living in the age of the millennial. A fast paced, digital infrastructure pushed and held together by the creativity of youth, the ease in accessibility of information and the magic of technology. But what exactly is a millennial?
Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the 1991 book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069, are said to have coined the term. Howe and Strauss define the millennial an individual born between 1982 and 2004. According to the Pew Research center millennials have overtaken Generation X (35 to 50 years old in 2015) as the largest demographic in the labor force.
These are the people born and raised in age of the cell phone and the computer. These are the people who turned social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat from a simple entertainment tool to an essential part of any marketing and public relations plan. These are the people who perfected the art of cramming a life, a story, a message into 140 characters or less. These are the hash taggers, the abbreviators, the internet breakers who help to shape pop culture and direct the flow of most of the information we receive today. Filtered or #unfiltered welcome to the age of the millennial! We over-share, we have strong opinions and we dream of both taking over the world and saving it. Technology facilitates us, our need to share and be known drives us.
As a millennial black woman I’ve had to learn to traverse these channels and find my place in this rat race. Being part of the fray has given me somewhat of a unique perspective on the world of social media. Studying and working in public relations has given me the opportunity to study this social media craze and both experiences have led me to one certain conclusion: people want to matter.
People want to feel that their stories, their lifestyles and their truths are represented in a way that befits their perspective and that reflects their ideals. This is the nutrient that sustains the millennial monster. Perhaps this certain truth seems obvious but unfortunately most companies tend to fall because they fail to realize and actualize this grain of wisdom. This is why it is so important to know how to tell a story, especially in this day and age where story determines the reputation, and the reputation determines success. This day and age where image is everything and your audiences’ ability to Google anything or publish a picture that can be seen and shared by 50.k people in moments can either make or break a company.
This means that you have to know to know how to send the right message in the right way. It also means that you have to know what the right message is amidst an ever changing, ever fluid landscape flowing with rivers of creativity and ideas. Sounds like a bit of a handful doesn’t it? It is also one of the best things about the millennial monster. It allows people, companies, and organizations to reach further, say more and gain more visibility without spending as much. It creates multiple opportunities to gain credibility through visibility.
The millennial monster can be incredibly vexing. It comes with a set of ever changing rules and dynamics that confuse and bedazzle even us, its perpetrators however it can be a beautiful thing when tamed. The millennial monster is a land fraught with treasures and opportunities if you take a chance and look.
Written by Neheng Matsoso at Odysseus Public Relations