THE BLOG

How Millennials And Social Media Changed The World

23/03/2017 16:33

Remember that little thing that happened in November last year? The one where the world was left shocked, stunned and open-mouthed? When Donald Trump did the impossible?

Chances are, if you're aged between 18 and 35 you read about it online, posted your reaction, tweeted your fears, saw a Trump-related meme and forwarded an election GIF.

This is the millennial life.

Social media channels are now the main sources of news, opinions and debate. Logging on and 'liking' are daily interactions. The number of friends and followers you have has become central to personal happiness and professional success. We are social.

Born between the early 80s and early 2000s, millennials live life online. Also known as Generation Y or Generation Me, this is a group that has become defined by the digital world and has prompted the huge cultural shift towards capturing every moment on camera phones, in tweets and Snapchats for the rest of the world to see.

Here are three ways I think millennials use of social media has changed the world as we once knew it:

1. Death of the newspaper

When was the last time you bought a newspaper? Can't remember? That's not surprising.

The Internet has been blamed for the decline in print media but can we go one step further? Will social media eventually wipe out news websites altogether? Statistics have shown that the average millennial is more likely to read their news from their Facebook feeds than from a dedicated news website.

Millennials check their social media feeds more often than news pages, so as breaking stories are shared and retweeted these platforms are the most likely source of news and views. They prefer reading news from their friends than waiting for reports on television and radio.

In fact, the power of social platforms can be seen everywhere. Within 30 minutes of Beyoncé announcing her pregnancy to her 92 million Instagram followers, the picture was 'liked' 1.4 million times.

By the end of the day, the singer had broken the record for the most liked picture on Instagram, hitting the 6 million mark. By the next day, news pages were writing about Beyoncé 'breaking the internet' and social commentators pushed out feature pieces on this pregnancy pose being a feminist statement.

Social media not only tells the news, it is the news.

2. All the world's a stage

How many Facebook friends have you got? How many likes did your selfie get? How many pins have you got on your board? Your dinner looks amazing, have you posted your food on Instagram? Are you a hashtag know-it-all?

Generation Y are the first to have smartphones. Whilst the 30-something millennial was lucky enough to avoid their teenage antics being snapped and posted for all to see, their younger peers have not been so fortunate.

In the digital world, every moment, every thought, every embarrassing pose is caught online. Careers have been launched from the success of a Twitter feed. YouTube videos have created millionaire 'vloggers' and every one can now publish their creativity online.

Internet exhibitionism has led to negative comments about the 'millennial' individual. They have been called narcissistic, over confident and entitled. But as social media platforms give people a ready-made stage and willing audience, why wouldn't they pose, pout and post?

3. Out with the old

Companies invest millions every year into digital marketing strategies, social media management, content writers and online adverts. The days of moody Mad Men, typing out copy and debating poster sizes is long gone.

Millennials want to interact with the products and services they buy. They pin products on Pinterest, follow a brand's Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram accounts. They promote things they like and cyber-shout about what they don't.

Social media brings the customer closer to their favourite purchases and has forced businesses to rethink their entire marketing strategy.

The move to social media marketing has created hundreds of new job titles: brand champions, multi-media communications specialists, social media analysts and social media monitors. These are all roles created by the millennial generation for the millennial generation and the industry is set to grow and grow.

WHAT NEXT?

Those are just three small ways millennials' use of social media has impacted daily lives and interactions. There are countless more. Think about your own lives and how you use social media. How many hours a day do you think you spend on Facebook?

So, as the millennials grow older, and Generation Z take over only time will tell how much further social media will dictate current trends. One thing's for sure, we'll be right alongside them creating social media strategies and campaigns that work.

Shaz Memon is creative director at Digimax.

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