Learning more about Generation M

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.



24 thoughts on “Learning more about Generation M”

  1. In India landline is significant for a different reason: reliability. It is common to have conversation like: “hey I can’t hear you, you voice is breaking, I’ll call you from landline…’
    And the operators are pushing landline with deals by bundling landline with broadband, or mobile.

    In the charts, interesting to note that email is at the bottom and ‘sharing own artistic work’ is in the top.

  2. Are you claiming you invented the term Generation M?
    I seem to remember this being used around in the mid nineties and possibly before in a number of published university articles and its been used ever since to describe multitasking, mobile, media and any other term beginning with M.

    I’d like to see a breakdown on differences between the sexes on the charts above

  3. I think the first time I saw the term being used in public was in a Kaiser Family Foundation study sometime in 2005. I started using the term in public after that, in preference to any other terms.

    it is this preference I was alluding to.

    I should have come up with a better construction, I see how you thought I came up with the term. What I meant was my preference for the term in comparison to others. Like preferring The Because Effect to “abundance economics”.

  4. Hi JP,
    I guess one of the next fight is for this generation, having simplified uses of these services. And probably the aim for electronics devices is the converge effect, to avoid having several devices in our pockets ; there’s some studies about this.
    Generation M today is so much “Multi-devices” too…

  5. Hello Everybody!!

    I agree, the Generation M, …unfortunately there advantages and profits, but..also there are… many things bad..
    ‘m makinf Events of Networking, called “6 Degrees”…and a lot of people don’t use IT, Messenger, Social Networks, Skype…is incredible, but now each child use Internet, and have e-mail,… WELCOME GENERATION “M”!!!

  6. And anothr M that goes rather well with all these afflictions is “Me” – this generation, whilst being multi tasking and multi connected is seemingly also very Me – my centric . I wonder if that stems from multi tasking albeit in a singular by my self environmnet, rather than a group and or collective, inclusive environment that we grew up in ? It is not an uncommon sight to see two people, sitting at a coffee shop, supposedly to catch up with each other, but each on their mobile gadgets, mostly voice calls or sms’ing someone else.

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  8. Just come here after reading the top quote on Matthew Bennett’s blog in Spain. There are some amazing figures in here. The degree to which everyone is constantly connected now, two years after this post is even more astounding.

  9. Entrepreneur Solo-
    And *I’m* reading this a year after you posted *your* comments (and thus three years after the original post). I’m 53 now, and have started using text and twitter in the last 3 years. I’m amazed by how much more connected I am in comparison to 25 months ago.

    If the (unsuccessful) uprising in Iran, and the (so far partially successful) uprising in Egypt is any indication, then this phenomenon is affecting global politics.

    I searched for the term “Generation M” just now because a Finnish woman sent a public tweet to a British guy http://bit.ly/mG8nx5 about a demonstration filling a square in Spain (or many of them, in fact) by this digital Generation M.

Let me know what you think

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