The Digital Millennials and their Social Media

The internet is an integral part of their daily lives. They wake up every morning to the alarm of their smartphone, check their emails, and get on Facebook. Before heading outside, they check the weather. If they have time, they may even take an Instagram picture of their breakfast. This is my generation. Most of us were born in the late 80s to early 90s and are often referred to as either “millennials” or “Generation Y.”

Social media is important to us. We use it to connect with our friends and loved ones, to find exciting career opportunities, and at other times, distract us from the task at hand. Brian Stelter, @brianstelter, is a media reporter for the New York Times. Last week he visited my University’s campus, and shared with us his definition of social media,

“Social media to [me] is Facebook, Twitter, and then all the rest.”

Stelter, not a millennial, does not see social media the way we do. To us, social media is way more than just Facebook and Twitter. Social media is blogging, email, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, Myspace, to name just a few. Social media is embedded into every fiber of our being.

We young adults of the 21st century can often feel overwhelmed by how much information is brought before our eyes every day. Stelton shared a few suggestions in hopes of overcoming this social media induced anxiety:

  • Take a break from social media every once and a while
    Several semesters ago, one of my Communications professors gave us the assignment of having a three day media fast. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle it and that I probably cave in within the first few hours of the fast. I was wrong. The first few hours were the hardest, but then I was over it. I actually tend to schedule social media fasts into my calendar every once and a while. I do this  to disconnect myself for a few days, read a good book, and take a few much needed deep breaths,
  • Don’t sweat about not seeing it all
    As much as all of you other millennials out there that may feel the world is going to end if you do not see every status update, tweet or pin that your friends do, rest assured there will be no doomsday apocalypse.
  • All of the important stuff will surface to the top

Building off his point above, don’t worry if you don’t see everything. From my own experience, I have noticed that the information that is truly important and worth hearing about, always comes up to the top.

Are you a millennial or happen to know someone who is? If so, how do you yourself, or someone else, overcome the anxiety that is often produced by social networks?

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... a Service Designer + UX Researcher at Hanzo. Parry frequently leads workshops around the world on topics such as Google Design Sprints, UX research, and service design. Parry also teaches UX and service design in several universities and bootcamps in Barcelona.