Nothing can stop Generation Y from social networking.
That is the recent consensus in a study done by Pew Internet, and as surprising as it may seem to some, it is absolutely not a shock to the Gen X internet and social networking community. While Generation X has developed the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and many others, it is Generation Y that has taken the full advantage of the services of full personal disclosure. With that said, let’s take a look at the reasons why they will or will not continue maintaining an openness throughout adulthood for those Generation Y’ers out there:
Why They’ll Stop
- Time Is Of The Essence — Maintaining an utterly open and honest means of communication through the vast social networking venues is extremely time consuming. As the Gen Y folks out there grow into adulthood and professional careers, they will have less and less time to devote to their Tweets, Status updates, and other connections.
- Written Warnings — Many companies are adopting website codes of conduct as well as internet personnel policies to enforce what has been a large amount of venting within social networking platforms. On a daily basis, I (personally) see over 50 people spouting off that they cannot stand to go to work which, obviously, doesn’t bode well for the company. The businesses are making an attempt to detour any of this online behavior as they try to enhance their corporate and branding image.
- Keeping It In The Family — There is something to be said about those people out there who do not have a personal Facebook, Twitter, or other social networking profile. They have extreme dedication to keeping their family business intimate. I have several “Friends” on Facebook that do not have a personal page, but have built a professional page to take advantage of the traffic and popularity of that particular venue. So, as Generation Y starts developing their own families, they could potentially take a turn down the “keep it it in the family” road.
Why They’ll Continue
- Habits Die Hard — Gen Y will have an extremely hard time breaking their updating habits, and there will be a solid majority (according to Pew Internet) that will continue their social networking updates due to pure habitual behavior. This is apparent in the new phones that are out which specifically connect to social networking platforms to enable a little more of that habit-forming behavior.
- Get Connected and Stay Connected — Everyone innately wants to know what everyone is doing; it’s the minute piece of voyeur behavior that we don’t like to admit we have. We love to share what we are doing because we know that we love to see what everyone else is doing (so why not help the never-ending cycle). The ability to see and compare what some of your friends are doing is one of the biggest draws to maintaining a social network.
- The Circle of Life — Gen Y folks will want to stay connected to the “now” social networks because that will be what their kids use to share their lives. As karma typically goes, look for a repeat of their behavior from their children (though it will be modified with their technology), and keep an eye out for their Gen Y parents to maintain a social networking account to monitor their kids (and share what they are doing as well).
The bottom line here is that social networking is here to stay, and everyone needs to take advantage of the current places that are frequented by Generation Y individuals. Create those web 2.0 Facebook pages, figure out a way to strengthen your Twitter account, utilize great search engine optimization strategies, and remember that the current Gen Y kids are going to be your future marketing managers!