The Idea Dude


Friday, April 13, 2007

This is the NOW generation

I was listening to a radio show about Generation-Y (commonly defined as the generation after the baby boomers) but anyone from 10-25, depending on who you ask. They mentioned that this generation was less self-reliant than any other generation. There was also a sense of NOW rather than planning for the future. Finally, there wasn't any defining music genre, like the big band era or the beatles era. I guess some would argue this decade is that of hip hop. I then thought about what Twitter, Digg, LinkIn, Facebook and MySpace was saying about our society (at least the digital society). Here are some personal observations based on our involvement in the Web 2.0 space as well as having two children who are Gen-Y's.

  • The sense of immediacy and the NOW generation can be attributed to the pervasiveness of the Internet. We are immersed in instant-messaging, text messaging, twitter, blogs, etc. We are so connected to each other and the outside world, it's no longer the 'let's meet up at the pub on Friday to catch up'. We know what each other is doing the moment it is being done or shortly after. In fact, we now crave to be up to date on what is happening with celebrities by the minute and breaking news isn't what's happening at the 6 o'clock news, it's what's happening now. While by being bombarded what is happening NOW, many of the generation-Y can hardly care about the past or the future because they are so busy trying to keep up with the present.
  • Music is as much about marketing as it is about the art. Record labels controlling large marketing budgets could traditionally define what era it would be simply by controlling the radio stations and tabloids through traditional marketing spend. Today, that marketing approaching is being disrupted by bands advertising virally on MySpace, YouTube and selling their own material on the Internet. As a result, the diversity that is generated has made it hard to define what music era this really is.
  • I think it is harder for parents to mold the environment around our children. 10-20 years ago, they were pretty reliant on what we told them, i.e. what to learn, what to watch, what to wear. Today, my son knows more about cellphone features and which are great PS 3 games than the people at the store. By watching what others are saying and the reviews that get posted, he has become more knowledgeable than the folks in the stores who don't have the time to figure out what's best for their customers. As a family, we routinely do all our research online before heading out to the store, an event that has just become the buying process rather than finding an expert to help us with our decisions.
  • As far as being less self-reliant, it's probably because we have so many digital products whether it is the cellphone, dishwasher, laptop that has made our lives convenient but at the same time less independent in many ways.

So what does this mean? perhaps 1000 years from now, evolution will show how our short-term memory capacity will be greater than our long-term memory... contrary to what it is now.


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