Millennials and Social Media

Rowan Kerek Robertson on the information diet of Millennials.

Last week I took part in a conference put on by the European Parliament called “Politicians In A Communication Storm: Meeting Millennials On Digital Territories”. I spoke during a panel entitled “Social media and trust: how to overcome myths and propaganda” – it couldn’t have been a more prescient theme what with more and more awarenss in fake news and the Facebook filter bubble in the wake of Brexit and the US election result.

European Parliament

You can watch my section on “Media Organisations, Millennials and Social Media”  (I’m at 1h38mins) but I thought I’d share some further information about Millennials, as I regularly get asked about their social media and digital habits.

So what do we know of the Millennial information diet? Some people may believe that Millennials’ discovery of information, mainly through newsfeeds, is random and limited. This isn’t necessarily true, Millennials do consume news and information, but in very different ways than previous generations. They tend not to consume news in single sittings or by going directly to news providers. Instead, information is reached by constantly connecting to the world through technology – certainly not a habit limited to Millennials!

For this generation social media online is where they start their online experiences. The latest Ofcom Digital Day report tells us that 16-24s spend 9% of their total media and communication time on social media, and a further 16% on messaging. Their news and information consumption is mixed with social connection, problem solving and entertainment. It’s normal for them to consume a mix of hard news, lifestyle news, and practical/educational info, alongside comedy and entertainment – just look at Millennial brands such as BBC Three, Ladbible or Buzzfeed to see how different genres jostle alongside one another.

Far from being uninterested, it’s actually cool to be knowledgeable for Millennials. On average they’re more interested in politics and social issues than popular culture or celebrities. They like authentic voices and return to information sources that they judge to be reliable

For the Millennial generation in the UK who are liberal, progressive, confident and diverse, they’ve grown up with a sharing economy. Online they like concise, visual content and they enjoy taking an active role in that content.

And of Millennials more widely?

They are the generation who reached adulthood around the turn of the Millennium, I think I just scrape in!

They are the largest and most educated generation in Western history. They are referred to as “digitally intuitive”, rather than “digitally native” as we often hear about the previous Generation X. However, experienced digital professionals often anecdotally reveal that this doesn’t translate instantly into strong editorial understanding of the digital landscape in regards to online research and professional content production.

Millennials are typified as being civic minded, global citizens who are conscious about the world. Also as entrepreneurial, self-starters who love to learn – pragmatic idealists who are results oriented team players, but also impatient multi takers. You may hear them referred to as the “sensible generation”, and perhaps related to that we often hear of the mental health pressures that they experience connected to (but not limited to) isolation, loneliness and body imagine.

They have grown up in a “liking” economy where their peers’ recommendations are very powerful. Online they enjoy sharing but do so for their own interests. Notably they are drawn to authenticity, and don’t like “brand” marketing.

For those wanting further information about the Millennials generation:

https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/millennials-news/

http://www.voxburner.com/reports/

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/multi-sector-research/digital-day

And also the great Lucky Atttitude site below:

Millennial Facts

 

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