Why Gen Y Doesn’t Aways Get Gen Y

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



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

advertising week Brian Mitchell Designworks First Jobs gumtree australia us presidential election

Latest News

opr Report: The Need To Rethink Content In A Post-Pandemic World
  • Media

opr Report: The Need To Rethink Content In A Post-Pandemic World

A new report shows the need for brands and organisations to rethink their approaches to marketing and communications content in a post-pandemic world. The new report, titled Future of Content and part of opr’s Futures series, takes an in-depth look at the changing way audiences find, consume, make and share content in Australia and around the […]

Are Media Appoints Jane Huxley As CEO, As Brendon Hill Departs
  • Media

Are Media Appoints Jane Huxley As CEO, As Brendon Hill Departs

Are Media has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer to replace Brendon Hill. Jane Huxley is the new CEO and starts with Are Media on Monday 26 April. Huxley is a highly experienced executive with a background in digital and technology businesses. Most recently Huxley was the regional managing director for Spotify, […]

Expedia’s Brand Positioning Takes New Direction
  • Marketing

Expedia’s Brand Positioning Takes New Direction

Expedia has announced a new brand direction as the world prepares for the return of travel demand. The online travel giant’s new global positioning is grounded in the understanding that who you travel with matters, and comes after months of customer research. From an updated look and feel to enhanced product offerings, Expedia is looking […]

Equity Mates Media Joins The Acast Creator Network
  • Media

Equity Mates Media Joins The Acast Creator Network

Equity Mates Media, the number one finance and investing network for young Australians, has joined the Acast Creator Network. Its five podcasts, which are some of Australia’s favourites, will now be hosted and distributed by the creator-first podcast company Acast. Equity Mates Media was created to give everyday people the inspiration, information and confidence to […]

Shot of a young woman gardening at home
  • Media

iStock Reveals Top Tips To Visualise Sustainability In ‘21

After an unprecedented year of challenges, iStock research has shown that Australians and New Zealanders are increasingly expecting businesses to communicate with greater empathy, both in terms of a brand’s language as well as its visuals. Celebrated globally on April 22, Earth Day presents a timely opportunity for businesses to put empathy into practice, iStock […]

Pinterest And Shopify Expand Partnership
  • Marketing

Pinterest And Shopify Expand Partnership

Pinterest and Shopify have announced the expansion of their partnership to 27 additional countries. The partnership will provide more than 1.7 million Shopify merchants around the world with an easy way to bring their products to Pinterest and turn them into shoppable Product Pins to be discoverable across the platform. With the evolution of the […]