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Cracking the Youth Code: LPK Senior Trends Analyst Emily Worstell on Gen-Y and Social Media

Looking at society today, the sheer amount and pace of change can be overwhelming even to cultural cognoscenti. As culture itself becomes increasingly fluid and mobile, technology has become a powerful tool for connection, collaboration and curation while simultaneously influencing every facet of our lives.


Members of Gen-Y, those typically defined as being born between 1980 and 1996, are especially engrained in social connection and social media technologies. They can offer an insightful look into emerging behaviors related to social media. Gen-Y’s desire to be understood, heard and involved in every aspect of their social circle creates a large opportunity for brands and services to accommodate these networked desires.


I’ve outlined what I see, from both a “native” Gen-Y perspective and Trends Analyst perspective, as the five key trends in Gen-Y’s behavior with social media that are set to impact how they search, shop and engage with brands:

1. Life Logging

Capturing and sharing experiences as they occur facilitates dialogue, keeps multiple conversations connected and documents the evolution of Gen-Y’s life.

2. Feedback Loop

Commenting, reviewing and rating adds context to decision-making, invites discussion and feeds Gen-Y’s need to share their unique point of view.

3. Influence Realignment

Shifting expertise and category authorities, from brand-centric to user-centric, can connect your brand to Gen-Y on an individual level. It can also connect you to their entire social group by treating them as influencers.

4. Curated Network

Overlapping networks of online and offline relationships allow Gen-Y to toggle seamlessly between their many endeavors and to create multiple opportunities for conversation and engagement.

5. Co-Created Anthology

Gen-Y often enlists “loyal followers” in crafting memorable and meaningful additions to their evolving anthology; a similar strategy can allow brands to attract a following devoted to collaboration, growth and success.

Gen-Y wants to be engaged in conversation, they want to be part of the creation and they want to be treated as valued influencers on your business. Engage them with a clear point of view and attitude, and they will return the favor. A strong social-media-engagement strategy can create the opportunity to capture Gen-Y’s attention, support their desire for constant social connectivity and build a stable, meaningful long-term relationship with brands in a culture that is constantly changing.

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