Author: Soraya Carvajal B., January 24 2017 - Are Millennials interested in politics? How do they report? What relationship do they have with the media? How will the Millennials adapt to their company? What kind of aspirations do they have? Do they want to change the world or just pass through? These and many more questions arose in the debate "Millennials vs. Baby boomers, digital divide and information", sponsored by the Fundación Telefónica.
The event starts from the premise that the Millennials, that is to say, those born after 1980 and until 1998, are the generation called to assume the leadership of the world and, therefore, the generation desired by the companies, for their possibilities of consumption. While the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, after the Second World War increased birth rates, and, for decades, have maintained economic and social leadership, they give way to younger generations.
But beyond the age range, what is meant by Millenial? For Florence Broderick, strategic marketing manager at Telefónica's Big Data unit, the Millennial spirit is characterized by the desire to travel, to be permanently connected, to the vocation of entrepreneurship, to be obsessed with flexibility and change, "but Especially for being hyper-impatient."
Bastian Manintvel, CEO of 2btube, son of Dutch Baby Boomers "for whom the most important thing was to rebuild the country and the world after the Second World War and whose basic principle was to work", recognizes that, thanks to the work of his parents, he has had many possibilities to choose; and, in his opinion, Millennials live certain paradoxes as they have more options, more access to information, but less work, less economic possibilities and certain limitations in terms of security, due to terrorism. "I see them as restless, but with lack of recognition, because despite having thousands of friends and followers in social networks, they do not understand how they can not get a job, why they can not advance in their work life."
At the same time, Ángel Fernández Recuero, co-founder of Jot Down Magazine, was critical of the usual definition of this generation because in his opinion the Millennial concept is more related to the use of technology, the digital experience, the concern to know things , just at the moment of birth, "I do not think it has to do with a generational theme, but instead with when you have the opportunity or the need to use technology."
For his part, José María Álvarez Monzoncillo, Professor of Audiovisual Communication at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and coordinator of the Millennials Report, stated that two generations can not be differentiated by one year of birth and that generations are not homogeneous; cultural, educational, social, economic, gender and digital gaps mark the differences. "Some are born with television, others with Internet, there are many similarities for example between Baby boomers and hippies, and between Millennials and internet, while in relation to private and intellectual property there are many differences. Each generation has an iconography, some symbols, some idols, a way of dressing; Millennials, for example, have broken with the myths of pop, it's a remix culture that turns everything around."
Those who investigate the Millennial generation point out that among its distinctive features are immediacy, desire for consumption and instant gratification and thus impatience. This aspect, according to Broderick, affects in such a way that it is "a generation quite depressed because after studying a university career, believing that we are going to have a great job, we are going to buy a house, etc., we arrive and we see that it is not possible to buy a house within 30 years as our parents did, and we are very far from those achievements. " Against this background,, Broderick considers that the Millennials are inclined towards the experiences, towards the "Wanderlust" culture, that is characterized by the desire, the passion to travel, to explore the world, to have new learnings, to know new cultures, behaviors.
That is why the strategic marketing manager at Telefónica's Big Data unit points out that companies / organizations have the challenge of teaching Millennials to develop patience and "one of the ways can be through rotations, because Millennials want to do and learn from everything, that's why it's very difficult for us to be specialists "
At the same time, the professor of University Rey Juan Carlos believes that we live in a society that is much faster, faster, where we tend to want everything immediately, where everything has to be done very fast, where we have to consume very fast and the technology affects In that immediacy. "The Millennials are a more restless generation, you tend to believe that as Millennial you are hyperactive or autistic, possibly in previous generations we also had these diseases, but there was no diagnosis."
Fernández Recuero, however, believes that the generation of Baby Boomers has higher rates of depression than the current youth and, in their opinion, immediacy is a matter of resources, because throughout history, the privileged, those who have had all the necessary means have been able to immediately access their desires, "what happens is that we now have access to many things thanks to technology." For the co-founder of Jot Down Magazine, Millennials live the Peter Pan effect, because they have not gone through the roles lived by the Baby Boomers, who had children and responsibilities earlier, and, therefore, their possibilities of leisure and of living the culture are different.
For Manintvel, who runs a digital content management company, young people today work just like previous generations, "they are very enterprising and they know how to create something out of nothing." This entrepreneur also believes that the main characteristic of the Millennial audience of digital content is loyalty, "they are very loyal followers to those contents, but the moment they get bored they leave."
Florence Broderick also pointed out that the three key factors for young talent within the corporate world are: international experience, which involves the possibility of traveling with work or working in teams or international environments; non-vertical leadership, with the consequent modern and flexible business culture; and, finally, have benefits according to their interests.
Among the Millennial generation, the "collaborative economy", based on cooperation, participation, exchange and mutual aid to generate goods or services, without necessarily having the economic benefit, has a very strong appeal.
In this context, the User Generated Content (UGC) is framed and published on the Internet, especially on social networks and platforms such as YouTube, which implies a democratization of access to digital production and access to the market by less conventional routes. But this type of economy also faces difficulties when companies appear interested in monetizing those contents produced free of charge, because the creators run the risk of ending up working without any remuneration for someone who does seek an economic benefit.
Álvarez Monzoncillo, researcher of the Millennial generation, also noted that it is important to keep in mind that the world of technology is also full of big interests, multinationals and near monopolies, and warned about the risk of falling into cyber-Utopia. "Yes, there is more empowerment, to organize social protest with the use of technologies, because the smartphone is a powerful weapon, but also to think what Martin Luther King would have done with a smartphone or how the Bastille would have fallen. There would have been social networks."
The professor of Audiovisual Communication also assured that the Millennials are called to change the world, as they are young and should take the helm of the route, but the real question is whether you can speak of a third or fourth industrial revolution "and Millennials have got to be there because they are young people and being young is a value, but it is also a problem."
Fernández Recuero, however, was more critical in pointing out that those who are making the changes are not the Millennials, who, in their opinion, "sometimes end up defending a cause that they do not know, due to lack of reflection, then they have to seek Bauman or Chomsky to explain what is happening."
Data, privacy and responsibility
There was a clear consensus in the discussion that the quantity, volume of data and information currently available does not necessarily lead to better information and that access to digital technologies implies some loss of privacy or even data left on the road.
"The era of information abundance also has problems and therefore we should not generalize, in Spain we also have Millennials ninis and the use they make of the network is different than that of those who can use it to form, improve, compete ... the internet under the appearance that it is everything, it has completely different uses, "said Álvarez Monzoncillo.
Faced with the controversy over privacy, the fingerprint left by our connections, our data, so that companies or the state know us better, Ángel Fernández said that, in parallel to hyper-information, one must develop the ability of discrimination . "The one who wants to know better must learn to filter, analyze and approach the sites that offer better information, but there is a problem of cognition and it is that humans have to surround themselves with things that are comfortable and that give them reason in what is already thought, so here teachers; teachers have a role to play guiding people to use hyper-information to their benefit."
Also, the co-founder of Jot Down Magazine was emphatic in stating that "obviously I prefer to live in this society where my data can be found, than to live 35 years ago in a society where there were no freedoms" and from his point of view this implies: to assume responsibility as a user and to overcome comfort or hedonism and thinking that it is the State that has to protect us at all times.
Finally, in a global and permanently connected world, where the consumption of information grows through social networks, where the rise of entrepreneurship is the answer to the scarcity of opportunities in the corporate world; where talent sometimes imposes itself on formal studies; where many are frustrated or powerless before a political class that does not represent them or before the advance of climate change, the world Millennial lives at a turning point, even with many more questions than answers.
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