Children born between 1982 and 1998 are now beginning to enter the workforce; while they’ve been called many things, I continue to use the term Generation M. [And that’s not because of any personal pride in coming up with the term; rather, the characteristics that define this generation seem to have a lot of “M” about them — mobile, multimedia, multitasking, multichannel and so on.
The Netxplorateur Forum invited me to speak to them about Generation M a few days ago; as part of my preparation, I trawled through my bookmarked items to see what had changed since mid-December, the last time I’d spoken about the subject (also in Paris, as it turned out, at Le Web 3). Which meant I had an excuse to re-read the excellent Pew Internet report on Teens and Social Media, published just before Christmas last year.
Read it if you get the chance, it’s worth it.
Four things stand out for me in the report:
Generation M is faced with a vast array of choices when it comes down to communications. They really use this vast array. [We never had this choice, so we should not judge them. Things are different, and we have to live with the differences.]
A segment of Generation M, termed super communicators, use the array more extensively than others. And they defy their critics by meeting their friends in person far more often than other teens. [Putting paid to the myth that these kids spend all their time online and have no “life”]
Those that belong to social network sites are the most active content creators, the most active contributors of social objects, the most active participants in the conversations around the social objects. [These are the people that marketers would do well to understand, because they are the new marketers, the viral recommenders who are adept at creating and using social objects.]
While all this is happening, the landline continues to be important. [This is probably a self-fulfilling prophecy, restricted to the developed world, and will prove completely false in India, China, Africa and maybe even Russia and South America. Nevertheless it is of interest to me, and not just because of where I work!]
The relevant charts from the report are given below for your convenience.