Why Gen Y Doesn’t Aways Get Gen Y

Why Gen Y Doesn’t Aways Get Gen Y
SHARE
THIS


What best describes you?

B&T’s favourite marketers to the Millennials, Brian Mitchell PhD and Evan Mitchell (Love & Wine and howandy.net), are back with their latest column. This time around they argue that Millennials might think they’re changing the world but, in reality, there’s more a herd mentality at play…

“Know Thyself” has come a long way from the Temple of the Delphic Oracle in ancient Greece. The Matrix movies emblazoned this existential exhortation over the door of their own wise-cracking Oracle. And Sense8’s trans hacktivist Nomi wears it as a tattoo, an indelible reminder of self-judgement and self-knowledge.

Really knowing thyself, however, presents specific challenges to history’s most paradoxical generation – which is why Gen Y doesn’t always get Gen Y.

The generation who demanded autonomy, independence and self-determination at earlier and earlier ages, lives at home for longer and longer. Half claim “economic infertility” while the other half are having kids much earlier than Gen X did. Idealistic social justice warriors grapple with the image of # slacktivist selfie-obsessed narcissists. And the generation that obsessed over FOMO (fear of missing out) now despairs at FOGO (fear of going out).

Generational paradoxes are what make Gen Y so heterogeneous. The heterogeneity of a generation, however, does not equal heterogeneity of individual tastes. So much social media has become an echo chamber, rewarding conformist thinking within social cliques. It’s harder and harder for dissenting opinions and tastes – and the wider perspective that comes with them – to cut through. Voices of difference are crushed before they get to express themselves.

Social media has become a magic mirror in which Millennials see idealised images of themselves and their chosen peers. This becomes self-reinforcing, and therefore more self-constraining. The more time spent on social media, the more compelling the image becomes.

So Gen Y don’t get Gen Y because they’re inclined to see the entire generation as a homogenous macrocosm identical to their peer-circle microcosm.

This is especially so in the case of those Gen Y-ers who stand as both taste-makers and taste-interpreters of their generation – those who work in media and marketing. It’s increasingly remarked on that these gigs are more and more dominated by white hipster males. They see the world through a narrow and specific prism – inner-urban dwelling, bearded with retro-tats, café-culture by day and hole-in-the-wall bespoke-spirits-bars by night… It’s a legit sub-culture, sure. How dangerous, though, to have this singular mindset increasingly influential in defining Gen Y tastes and creating the messages aimed at mass-generational appeal.

No previous generation came of age believing they held the sum of all human knowledge, literally, in the palm of their hand. This generational certainty, however, has eliminated one of the great sources of perspective and enlightenment for earlier generations – happy accident. Compare the limitations of Pandora-listening to old-time radio channel-surfing. Compare discoveries made flipping through LPs in a record store with taste-reliance on the recommendations of like-minded peers. Archaic library card catalogues revealed new books and ideas in ways a Google key-word search won’t. Especially since over time such searches accentuate existing tastes.

We can’t ever, of course, go back to all that. But it’s useful to be mindful as much of what’s been lost as of what’s been gained.

Or maybe not, for Gen Y anyway. They’re happy to indulge themselves in the notion that the world is precisely how they and their friends see it. They don’t ever have to think how limited their individual tastes have become – paradoxically, by the very devices, apps and platforms that should have expanded those tastes beyond belief. They can afford to conclude that their entire generation is exactly as they are in every way.

They have that luxury.

For marketers who need to read this increasingly significant demographic, however – that’s a luxury they don’t have.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

The Advertising ID Consortium Welcomes New Platform Partners
  • Advertising

The Advertising ID Consortium Welcomes New Platform Partners

The Advertising ID Consortium – the open identity solution for the digital advertising ecosystem – has announced new platform partners. Since the Consortium’s announcement in May 2017, the founding members have established a governance framework and product specification that includes an open and standardised cookie and accessible people-based identifiers, delivered in a secure, privacy conscious […]

Marketing Melodies Partners With Spotify-Backed Soundtrack Your Brand
  • Marketing

Marketing Melodies Partners With Spotify-Backed Soundtrack Your Brand

Australian in-store music provider Marketing Melodies has announced an exclusive reseller agreement with Spotify-backed Soundtrack Your Brand for the Australia and New Zealand markets. Founded in Sweden in 2013, Soundtrack Your Brand was developed to kill bad background music. Its flagship solution, Soundtrack Business, is a music streaming platform licensed for commercial and public spaces. The […]

Social Garden Becomes First Bronze Snapchat Certified Partner In Australia
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Social Garden Becomes First Bronze Snapchat Certified Partner In Australia

Customer acquisition firm Social Garden has become the first business in Australia to achieve Bronze status on Snapchat. Among the new benefits Social Garden will receive as a result of its Bronze status is access to beta versions of Snapchat data tools, such as the Snapchat Conversion Pixel, as well as being among the first […]

Hypetap Appoints Nuffnang’s Chris Morfis As GM
  • Marketing

Hypetap Appoints Nuffnang’s Chris Morfis As GM

Influencer marketing player Hypetap has made its second senior hire in less than a month, appointing Chris Morfis as the company’s general manager. Joining from influencer marketing provider Nuffnang Australia, Morfis will guide Hypetap’s growing team, providing strategic direction to accelerate the company’s growth, as well as leading operations and managing relationships with key partners. Morfis’ appointment will […]

On Air sign in a studio broadcasting via radio, podcast or wireless transmission.
  • Media

ARN Announces Departure Of Content Director & Radio Veteran

Australian Radio Network (ARN) has announced that Charlie Fox, content Director for WSFM and The Edge, and WSFM morning announcer Ron E Sparks, have departed. Fox has been with ARN since 2005, and Sparks joined WSFM in 2002. ARN national content director Duncan Campbell said the departure of Fox and Sparks are part of the […]

OMD Announces New MD For Melbourne
  • Media

OMD Announces New MD For Melbourne

OMD unveils new Melbourne MD, and it certainly wasn't among any of B&T's picks. Not that we were picking, mind you.

Sydney Festival Chooses Brightcove To Enhance Online Video Content
  • Media

Sydney Festival Chooses Brightcove To Enhance Online Video Content

Video cloud service Brightcove has announced that Sydney Festival has selected the platform to improve its user experience through online video content. Brightcove will do so by removing third-party branding and pre-roll ads, as well as adding autoplay functionality, ahead of the event in January. Leveraging the Brightcove video platform to host and publish video […]

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?
  • Opinion

Does Your Christmas Marketing Suck?

Remember the old Palmolive soap ad that asked, "Don't wait to be told"? This is sort of similar, albeit sans any suds.

Opinion

by Peter Harris

Peter Harris
Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban
  • Campaigns

Queensland Anti-Porn Crusaders Cop Ad Ban

We have a strident anti-pornography policy at B&T. Earphones must be worn at all times and strictly no little people.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

Nature’s Way Celebrates Big Things Little People Do In UCG Videos Via Wavemaker & Storyful

Health and wellbeing company Nature’s Way is celebrating the achievements of kids in a series of relatable and entertaining online videos that tug at the heart strings of parents. Instead of using actors to tell the brand story of Nature’s Way’s Kids Smart supplement range, Storyful has helped Wavemaker to license user-generated content clips of […]

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account
  • Marketing

DEC PR Wins Hisense Account

Electronics and whitegoods specialist Hisense has announced it has appointed DEC PR to lead its strategic communications remit in the local market, following a competitive tender process. DEC PR will work to support its brand building activities and managing corporate communications. The agency’s work will integrate closely with Hisense’s other marketing partners. Andre Iannuzzi, marketing […]