Millenials and Social Networking – A Critique

Someone directed me to a post about Millenials and Social Networking, It is written by someone who, I imagine, is a member of that generation, and yet I find it totally – but totally – wrong.

I wanted to reply in situ but it seems you need to log onto Facebook to do so. I don’t do Facebook, so I’m posting my reply here:

I’m not a millenial, but a baby boomer, and I take umbrage at the proposition that simply because sites like Twitter and Pinterest foster curation, people have lost the ability (or desire?) to be creative. “To everything there is a season” and a place, as well. We use different social media for different purposes. Curation is not simply imitation, it’s also selection, and that means practicing a discriminatory ability, critical reading, etc.

Generation Y does have problems that are specific to it – so did we, so does every generation. So what? If you look at the research, the notion of Gen Y as narcissistic comes from my generation, not from the data. Gen Y is creating what Henry Jenkins refers to as the “Participatory Culture,” something we individualists have had a hard time doing, especially after we hit middle age, and certainly in our dotage.

Let’s stop promoting clichés and look at real data, real people, and real situations. The world has become a harder place than it was in our youth, let’s help younger people cope with it, instead of dumping on them. Otherwise, what was the “summer of love” for?

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My Next Webinar – Join me for “Building Loyalty by Product Design – When customers become stakeholders”

Thursday, 14 August at 14:00 CEST, 1:00 pm BST, 8:00 am EDT

My next free webinar takes a content strategist’s approach to the use of social media to feed back into product design and build customer loyalty.

Once a customer buys your product or service, it becomes the main communications channel with your company. That means that the content contained in your product (interfaces, messages, manuals, ergonomics and esthetic design, etc.) must be on message with the rest of your content strategy. One way to build that message, and improve product design in the process, is to build true integrated communities of stakeholders that include your customers as equal players with your internal teams: design, development, marketing, management, etc.

These communities are far from a simple Facebook page, or “user forum.” They require attention, care, and feeding, and the reward is a degree of loyalty money can’t buy.

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