Zack Vayda and the Connected Generation
Having all of the world's collective knowledge and information at the tip of a finger certainly has its benefits, but it can be difficult to decipher between the infinite number of opinions and beliefs out there. This is especially true for Millennials, the generation coming of age. I've found even for myself the sheer volume on the internet can lead to feelings of isolation. "Who can I believe? Are there others out there asking the same questions I am? Do people care about the things I care about?"
As the generation we are a part of comes into power (politically and organizationally), being reminded of our common interests can create common goals, and with common goals to strive for, we have all the more potential to make a difference in this country and in the world. So what is it that I want? What is it that Millennials are looking for? What makes Millennials different than the generations before?
Research suggests 4 main categories that most Millennials desire:
Millennials desire to use technology as a tool. Technology and social media are now being used more and more as a means to an end, not the end in itself. For example, when it comes to news, the older methods such as newspapers, radio and even television are being replaced with the speed and reliability of technology, specifically via social media. 61% of Millennials say they get the majority of their news from links from friends and family. Going forward, only 15% of Millennials feel that having a TV is extremely important; the other 85% prefer the more mobile devices, like phones and laptops. This again suggests Millennials like using technology primarily to gain information and to serve a purpose, and secondarily as a method of entertainment.
Millennials desire an optimistic, progressive world view. This one came as a surprise to me. Based off what I see in the news and online, I would have assumed Millennials have the most negative view of society and the future. However, 44% of Millennials say that the opportunity to change the world motivates them to be successful. 80% are involved in the community outside of their work environment, and an incredible 97% are extremely optimistic about what lies ahead of them.
Millennials desire a healthy lifestyle. And we're not just talking about being "not sick." Living a healthy lifestyle to Millennials means a daily commitment to eating right and exercising. This trend is further shown in consumer patterns. The generation that tends towards scraping two pennies together (perhaps a product of education debt) are more willing than ever to pay for athletic apparel and footwear.
Millennials desire community. The "American Dream" of owning land, a house and a car (or two) is being traded out with the opportunity to live closer together. 60% say they do not consider owning a house to be extremely important and 30% see no need to own a car. This is because a whopping 79% plan to live in cities (contrary to popular belief, only a very small fraction of Millennials actually live with their parents). This migration towards cities suggest being "close to the action" and close to others is of higher value than in the past.
After viewing this list, I would theorize that what Millennials really want is Connection. Connection to the environment, connection to their future, connection to their bodies and connection with others. For those Millennials out there that are like me, it should be encouraging to see so many others also have goals to make a positive difference in this world. It should be encouraging to see taking care of one's body is becoming more and more important. It should be encouraging that in a time of extreme potential disconnectedness, so many are fighting to strengthen connections and create community.