Millennials vs. The World
Is it really true that millennials interact differently than generations before them? We can look to the advancement of technology and creation of social media as a main variable that has altered the ways in which we interact and communicate. As a millennial myself, I am obviously biased that we have used social media to the fullest to communicate and interact proficiently. While older generations commonly argue that we are less personable, impatient, and sometimes just downright awkward, I would counter that we have just adapted and changed the way in which we interact. With technology becoming more complex at a staggering frequency, millennials have been forced to engage in all the newest forms of social media to stay tuned into the latest trends, news, and entertainment. Social media has changed the culture of communication and the landscape of social interaction altogether.
Social media has created an idea of shared information. Before social media, you took a picture to save a memory for yourself. Now, when you take a picture you are saving a memory and posting it to share what you experienced with others. Nearly all millennials have social media accounts that they post to for interaction, and if you aren’t using them you likely aren’t keeping up. The culture of staying connected is what drives creativity and the pace of advancement in an arena of seamless communication that isn’t always embraced by older generations.
Social media platforms have created a buffer zone that was not there in the past. Before social media, you had to interact face to face with someone to get to know them. Now, you can create a social media account and theoretically be “anyone” you want to be (for better or worse). This fundamentally changes communication and interaction, because using tangible social skills has given way to learning how to present yourself in a digital world that can distort genuineness.
Social media has created what I like to call mystification! We have the ability to interact with anyone anywhere as long as they have an account. People can instantly vicariously experience places they never dreamed of going, from the comfort of their smart phones. We can all snorkel off the Fuji Islands, witness a sunrise over Mt. Everest, and see a polar bear in its natural habitat - all in a scroll or swipe. The ability to experience through social media is a truly unique human interaction.
Social media allows individuals to come together in commonality. Before social media platforms, it was more difficult to create any type of coalition or activist group without a grassroots movement. Within minutes now, you can use your platform to reach out and engage an audience that has similar thoughts and ideas. This has reinvigorated a millennial generation that is actively engaged with social, political, and economic issues working together to make a difference in the world.
While older generations sometimes label millennials as obsessed with the internet, engulfed in our smartphones, and impatient when it comes to life, I believe it’s safe to say that we are just positively adapting to the changes in communication and interaction that we have been faced with. Social media has created a world of information that moves fast with seemingly no limits. Millennials, whether socially appointed or by choice, feel a responsibility to lead the way into this fast-paced future and we can only hope that we are as good at being guides and stewards as we are at posting about it.