A study of people aged 15-35 commissioned by network infrastructure company CommScope has found they have an umbilical degree of dependence on being connected at all times.
This age group is commonly referred to as Millennials by people whose job it is to generalise about vast swathes of the population, and is commonly defined as the first ‘digital native’ generation. Before them came the cynical Generation X and before them the optimistic Baby Boomers.
Among the headline findings from this study, which was conducted among 4,000 Millennials and Baby Boomers in San Francisco, London, Sao Paolo, and Hong Kong in early 2016, were:
- Millennials are so accustomed to the internet that they would rather give up plumbing, heating and air conditioning, personal transportation and cable TV before they would go without connectivity and the electricity needed to power their devices;
- Two-thirds of Millennials agreed or strongly agreed that social media is their major form of social communication, compared with one-third of Baby Boomers;
- Three-quarters of Millennials said they would like to adjust the speed of their internet services depending on their activities—and pay accordingly.
- Two in five London millennials are prepared to shell out up to £125 per month for superfast internet access.
“Millennials will represent the lion’s share of purchasing power in a few years, and since they prioritize devices and access to fast internet, they are expected to continue to put high levels of spend towards connectivity,” said Morgan Kurk, CTO of CommScope. “However, they need to be served differently than previous generations in order to meet their expectations.
Security software company Norton teamed up with Reed to do another survey of Millenials recently, focused on social media habits and online reputation management. It found:
- More than one-quarter of Millennials in the UK do not know what information appears when their name is searched online
- A fifth were shocked to discover content published online without their permission
- 15 per cent were surprised to find embarrassing comments they made on social media
- Just under a quarter were surprised to find embarrassing pictures or videos of them
- One in six are very or highly concerned that they may have job-related issues due to social media postings
- One-fifth have applied or been contacted for a job, only to realise it was a fake opportunity or scam
The point of this survey seems to have been to show how easy it is to screw up online, and it seems a significant proportion of Millennials aren’t quite as ‘digital native’ as they’d like to be. Perhaps the generation born after the millennium will be called ‘social natives’ and will have mastered the art of managing their online identities.