Millennials have wrinkles too!
My name is Merlyn, born 1998. I’m that emojified, app-sessd, Facebook-scrolling Millennial that generations before are all wondering how to talk to.
Let’s rewind. The year is 2004, I’ve started my first year of primary school and Facebook is launched, the first smartphones soon to follow. I’m navigating websites through touch screen technology (something I can’t remember ever not knowing how to do) and my friends are building a global settlement in a parallel cyber world with the aim of stating exactly who they are, or at least who they’d like to be. I was an infant during the digital boom; I was learning how to use technology whilst I was learning how to use words.
At the same time Stephen, my colleague, had just bought his first house at 24 years of age. He finished college some years earlier where he would have been saving work onto a floppy disk with zero access to the thing we now know as email; maybe AltaVista if he was lucky. By contrast, when I went to college, my course was centred around a cloud-based system through which I could ask questions, share notes and submit reports whenever I had 4G. And when I was growing up the junk food treat to me was a Real Fruit Winder; to Stephen it was a Findus Crispy pancake.
Our young worlds were entirely different, but we also have one major thing in common: we are BOTH classified as Millennials.
Yes, me – the YouTubey, totally epic native of digital is as much a Millennial as the wrinkly, receding, mortgaged-laden Millennial, like Stephen.
“I was an infant during the digital boom; I was learning how to use technology whilst I was learning how to use words.”
So, what does this tell us?
It would be a mistake to apply a blanket definition to the Millennial age group. Twenty years is a long time, particularly the twenty years between 1980 and 2000 when the world changed… dramatically.
There’s an abundance of outlets masquerading as sources of information, which have taken this loose term and ran with it without a leash. The result is the production of lots of white noise, particularly slanted towards a spew of desperate pay-per-click articles, basing stories on microscopic anecdotes to support their preconception of a tech-obsessed, lazy and unreachable generation. The way these articles clout Millennials is considered collateral damage; it’s distracting, sloppy and it’s wrong. Please ignore.
What’s the truth?
Millennials are the largest, most educated, socially minded and flexible generation alive today; an audience that’s far more complicated then you may first think. Many of you reading this may be Millennials without even knowing it. What’s exciting is that they are a largely unexplored market when it comes to targeted pensions communication. These young people facing a long working life ahead of them may have time on their side but with some hard work you do have technology on yours. Use your digital channels with purpose, build interest and create dialogue. Although you must beware, we are a discerning and dismissive bunch and we know what’s good. Don’t try to force ‘cool’, I’ll cringe otherwise.
By Merlyn Jeffery