The topic of “millennials” is being increasingly discussed on websites, blogs and events ever since Instagram and Snapchat started catching on to the public. But not to the whole public, but to the audience that falls within the Y category and it’s not yet understood by specialists. And maybe that’s exactly what gives savor to these talks, the more mysterious the subject the more appetizing the discussion.
The discussion is broad and the topic quite hard to digest. Especially for those with narrow views, those who would take their children’s phones and throw them away if they could. Adults have always had a problem with the new generation, both with the new “adults” and whatever “the next generation” might be.
The paradox is that they are the same people who were once part of the “new generation”, but have now forgotten what it was like back then. Today’s digital natives are just like us, the ones who grew up with Tetris, Walkman, Gameboy etc. What I’m saying is that the new generation is behaving the same way the old generation did. Let’s replace Tetris, Walkman or Gameboy with smartphone, laptop, smartwatch, Facebook etc. It’s the same thing. We were not understood by our parents and we do not understand our children. And I believe one of the problems is the fact that adults resent the new and (because of this) they won’t make an effort to understand it. That would mean that they would have to leave their comfort zone, the ignorance zone I’d say. Things are not complicated, we’re the ones making them complicated. It’s actually simple.
Marian Hurducaş- Communication Agency Manager
Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and even Twitter are the networks that have caught on the most to this generation, and brands rely on these platforms to make their advertising as similar as the customer’s taste as possible.
I’m not a specialist in human behaviour, nor did I study this generation’s behavior in depth, but the reasons I’ve written below are observations that I have made as a result of my discussions with students from the 1st year and pupils from class 1 and 5.
So let’s try and understand the reasons young people use these apps.
1. To hide from their parents’ eyes
The Internet was the place where the teenager hid from his parents’ mouth/ the world/ his family life. He needed space, a place where no one could tell him what to do and how to do it.
He needed a place to be whoever he wanted to be and when he wanted it.
The Internet gave him this space, and social media provided him with the opportunity of being whoever he wanted to. In the beginning there was Hi5, Yahoo! Messenger and then it went on with Facebook and the rest of the networks.
Then families invaded that space and teenagers had to find a new playground, out of their parents ‘ sight and their demands. Snapchat is the ideal place to hide the conversations and discussions with your friends. Instagram is the perfect place for following friends and/or celebrities and for them to be whoever they want to be.
2. The herd instinct
We all do things for the sake of the herd.
This “Tribe” theory that Seth Godin started is still the norm nowadays, and teenagers are the perfect example of that “herd effect”. Why? Because the teenager will never use these networks if there’s no one there that he knows.
He will not use Snapchat to read the news (that’s what Buzzfeed, 9GAG and Tumblr are for) but will use it because that’s where his friends/schoolmates are.
They will not use Instagram because they want to expose their photographs but to see where “the herd” is and what are they up to.
And in the end it’s a natural/normal thing to be led by this herd effect, right?
3. The “because I want to” or “because it’s cool” theory
Many marketers past 30 or 40 have forgotten that they used to do things just because they wanted to do them or because it seemed cool. And we often do things in order to be accepted, praised and cheered by the “herd” just because we need someone to see our value.
“Yes … cool! But that’s not a good reason “– Yes, it is a good enough reason for a teenager to use Snapchat or Instagram.
4. The “wanna be a celebrity” syndrome
If for those born in the ‘ 70s or ‘ 80s the “wanna to be a celebrity” idea meant buying a magazine and reading about a celebrity then trying to copy their dressing style or to listen to a particular style of music, then for this generation it means being SOMEONE on social media.
Why do you think they take so many selfies? Not because they want to be a national or international star, but because they want to be seen as stars in their area, in their circle, in “their herd”.
Let me know what do you think about these reasons? Do you know any other reasons why millennials are using Snapchat, Instagram or Tumblr?