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December 15, 2014
Millennials: Connecting with Today’s Digital Natives
 
Today, Millennials make up one of the most influential generational cohorts, yet they remain a demographic much different than their Gen X or Boomer predecessors.

To get a deeper understanding of Millennials, Influence Central embarked on a research study that looked at 1,100 American Millennial women born between 1979 and 1993. The study focused on Millennials as consumers, how their deep connections with friends and family impact the choices in their lives, and the effect of various types of media on their day-to-day decisions.

Because we so closely associate Millennials with technology, our study dove in to get a clearer picture of Millennials and how their behavior and worldview have been influenced by technology and social media. Here are five key findings that illuminate the connection between Millennials and their online lives:
  1. Growing Up Digitally
One key differentiator between Millennials and previous generations proves to be that Millennials represent the first generation to grow up surrounded by the Internet and social media. They came of age communicating digitally, so for them, technology has become a natural and intuitive part of their lives. In fact, 52% would rather text than take a phone call, and nearly 40% favor using social media to connect with friends and family.
  1. Sharing Their Lives Online
This digital immersion also includes Millennials’ penchant to share their stories online. Whether it’s a photo on Instagram, an update on Facebook, or a new board on Pinterest, Millennials constantly create, curate, and update their lives online. Their first instinct is to share their joys, experiences, and life events, with nearly 60% saying they use social media platforms to announce their important moments. Moreover, 57% say that when something good happens in their lives, they share it via social media.
  1. Maintaining Close Ties to Facebook
With the rise of such online visual platforms as Pinterest and Instagram, questions often emerge about how Millennials react to Facebook. According to our study, Millennials still rely on Facebook as their primary social media platform. In fact, 92% of Millennials have a Facebook account, while 55% are on Twitter and Pinterest, and 59% have not yet created an Instagram account.
  1. Swimming in Transparency
As part of their immersion in online communications, Millennials exist in virtual transparency. With many assuming their contacts on social media are friends and peers — rather than people they don’t know who came across their content while online — they share highly personal anecdotes, opinions, and insights online that are meant for their circle of friends. More than 65% of Millennials place no limits on their photos and allow them to be shared, while 55% don’t limit their profile visibility.
  1. Exhibiting Some Caution in Online Sharing
While Millennials do live their lives online, they don’t entirely open up. Today, 50% of Millennials think twice before posting a status update or tweet, and 42% will never check in on social media. In addition, only 28% say they post more updates now compared with what they did three years ago.

According to Megan Maguire, director of Millennial Central, an Influence Central brand, “Millennials have spent their entire lives immersed in digital technology and this fact shapes everything about them, from how they interact with peers to how they engage as consumers. Understanding the Millennial-digital connection is the key to understanding them as a generation — both now and in the years to come.”

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Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, is a social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling author. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. You can reach her at stacy@influence-central.com.
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