Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Social Media and the Generation that Refuses to Grow Up

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

A local Green Bay tweeter recently posted an article the New York Times ran on August 18, 2010 titled “What is it About 20-Somethings?” As a 20-something myself, I was immediately intrigued as to what this article had to say. (An excerpt and link to the article is posted below.) As I began to read about how 20-somethings are “delaying adulthood” by moving back in with their parents after school, staying single longer, not having children and constantly moving from place to place, it got me thinking about public relations and the use of social media.

Since I’m currently in my mid-20s, most of my friends are as well. As I think about my ten closest friends ranging from ages 22 to 29, I realized just how accurate this article is.

  • Only two of my friends are married
  • Only one of my married friends has children
  • Six have moved in the last year – either back in with their parents or to a new living arrangement
  • Three are currently back in school part time or are in the process of enrolling
  • All ten are employed at least part-time

So, here I am with my 20-something friends who for the most part have little financial responsibility yet are all working. Long story short, this means a large amount of disposable income but a hard market to reach as they bounce around and refuse to settle.

Ironically enough, my ten closest friends the one thing in common…..Facebook accounts that follow them from place to place and relationship to relationship. While some companies may not see a need for social media just yet, at least for my friends, its one of the only consistent things in a 20-something’s life.

So what does this mean for businesses that want to target this demographic but don’t use social media as a promotional avenue? As social media grows in popularity, are these businesses losing out or are they finding alternative ways to reach this generation that’s on the move?

What are your thoughts about social media and the 20-something generation?

Excerpt from the New York Times’ “What is it About 20-Somethings?” by Robin Marantz Henzig. Published August 18, 2010

Click Here to View the Entire Article

“It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un¬tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.

We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s……..”


Beth said...

As a twenty-something myself, I agree with this! If there's one thing we'll never get ride of, it's our Facebook accounts! I visit my account daily and most of my friends spend much more time on it than I do! So if anyone's wondering where we's online!!

kr said...

I agree with Beth. I know many of my friends don't even use a computer to access their Facebook accounts anymore. They do everything directly from their cell phones. And while I thought I would never become "that person" I also check my account daily either from my phone or computer.