10 Trends of the Real Time Generation/iGeneration

A few hours ago, the One Young World forum kicked off in London, organised/founded by my old boss and good mate David Jones, CEO of Havas and Euro RSCG Worldwide.  It’s a fantastic initiative, a kind of Davos for young people – bringing together over 1,000 under 25yr olds to work on solutions to some of the worlds biggest problems. Whilst perusing the one young world site I came across a great post from trend guru Marian Salzman whom I used to work with when I was a junior planner running around Sydney.  There’s alot of stuff she covers which relate closely to Gen C which I often write about. It also ties into an article about the iGeneration’s need for ‘instantaneous’ information  I posted recently. Here are her thoughts on some of the trends impacting 20 somethings globally sourced from a Global Youth Study she conducted in the lead up to OYW.  She also has a great post on the Real Time Generation.  There’s some good stuff here:

Herewith, are Marians top 10 trends of 20-somethings:

1. Real-time expectations

Virtually no one in his or her 20s in a developed country has known life without instant communication. Twenty-somethings connect with friends in real time — no waiting for snail mail or even e-mail. They get the latest news (whether world events or their friends’ status) as it happens, with a live feed of texts, tweets and Facebook updates from where it’s happening. Whenever they need information, it’s online in abundance. Reference books? What are those?

2. More intensely local lives

A paradox of borderless real-time technology is the way it reinforces local connections. With mobile devices, young adults make plans on the fly. With location-based apps on their phones, they find friends who happen to be nearby and get alerts from companies in the vicinity offering deals. Local is the new global, as I explained in my most recent post here, and nowhere is that more true than among 20-somethings.

3. Radical transparency

Twenty-somethings grew up with reality TV and radical celebrity culture — media poking into every corner of people’s lives, from Hollywood A-listers to Nadya Suleman, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and Richard “Balloon Boy’s Dad” Heene. They’ve lived their whole lives in a culture of information “leaks” at the highest level, a world where even the great confess mistakes and show emotion to millions. They constantly use technologies that let them bare all — sometimes literally — to their friends. They’re aware that nothing online is confidential, but so what? This generation is more transparent about its thoughts, feelings and actions than any generation before it.

4. Expecting cheap or free everything

Globalization has made many essentials very cheap. Twenty-somethings can fill their stomachs and clothe themselves at unbelievably low cost. Budget air travel is normal. The Internet brings music, software, TV shows and all sorts of content for free. One of the biggest, most powerful brands on the planet, Google, offers a huge range of powerful services at no cost to the user.

5. Demanding entertainment

In some parts of the world, particularly the West, entertainment has long been an essential part of education. Young adults grew up with Sesame Street and edutainment based on fun, interactive graphics in the classroom and museums, an approach that has been endorsed by researchers. Even in places where more traditional education models prevail, fun and games have become a staple activity of young people. In the recent Global Youth Study, 59 percent of respondents said they regularly play video or computer games in their spare time; gaming is the second-most popular activity after socializing.

6. Worrying about the planet

Twenty-somethings came of age amid increasingly troubling reports about what’s going wrong with the planet. Inconvenient truths about climate change, disappearing species, habitat destruction and water shortages have been daily fare for them. In the survey, 64 percent of respondents saw climate change affecting them seriously, and 82 percent saw it affecting future generations seriously; 64 percent said only immediate radical changes can prevent the most serious impacts of climate change.

7. Seeing luxuries as standard

The basic tools of 20-something life are actually luxuries by historical standards. Whether they pay for them themselves or have help from their parents, most young adults in developed countries have:

⢠A smartphone costing well above $100, plus monthly fees
⢠A computer costing at least $300, with monthly broadband fees on top
⢠A wide-screen TV costing at least $300, plus cable or satellite fees
⢠Higher education as far as they can go

8. Pro-business, anti-multinational stance

Today’s 20-somethings don’t share the countercultural ideologies that fired up young baby boomers. They were raised in an environment in which free markets were revered and delivered plenty of consumer goodies. People in their 20s aren’t anti-business; some of them even founded megabrands (Google again). But they aren’t so fond of multinational corporations. In the survey, two-thirds of respondents said global corporations have too much power. But instead of trying to take down corporate giants by force like earlier generations did, now 20-somethings aspire to out-business them.

9. Regulate the heck out of media bias

Media in 2010 is vastly bigger than it was in 2000. Increasingly diverse news sources are available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. No wonder 70 percent of survey respondents get their news over the Internet. All this choice, plus growing educational levels and media savvy, makes 20-somethings acutely aware of media bias; 70 percent of respondents said all news media should be regulated so that they’re clearly independent of state and corporate bias.

10. Naturally Me but aspiring to We

Young adults are used to self-expression, self-esteem, personal computers, personal profiles, personalized settings and personal branding. Whether the culture is highly individualistic (e.g., the United States) or more collectivist (e.g., China), businesses have thrived by enabling people to express themselves, to be more Me. Culturally and commercially, 20-somethings have been encouraged to be more selfish than their predecessors. Yet they’re all too aware that everyone pursuing selfish interests creates planetary problems. Members of this generation are caught between the impulse to do their own thing and the desire to do the right thing together. Or as the pithy observation has it, “Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.”

One Young World – collaborative creativity to change the world

Global youth are now empowered like never before via the social web, but also probably because there’s so much crap going on in the world. Youth marketers like myself often talk about how we can use creativity to create conversations with youth and build our brands we work on. But the real challenge/opportunity is how we can use our creativity in collaboration with the leaders of tomorrow to create real global change. My old boss David Jones/ CEO of Havas has created One Young World – a brilliant initiative whereby 1500 Under 25yr olds are going to get together next February in London to come up with ideas on how they can influence the world positively for their generations and beyond.  Potential delegates can submit a video on the OYW  youtube channel as to what they would do to change the world. They’ve got some heavies like Kofi Anna and Bob Geldof behind it, so that will assist in making the idea very social in nature as the OYW tribe has these guys to inspire them. It’s brilliant, and I wish I was five years younger so I could go. This is Part 1 and 2 of Davids’ speech at Google Zeitgest where he speaks about what One Young World is all about.

He uses words like ‘collaborative creativity’ which I think are spot on and really capture how Generation C behave and want to interact with brands and each other in todays environment.

One Young World – 1500 youth from 192 countries to create real change

One Young World will give young people a place to engage and have their voices heard about their future. It’s already got the support of Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bob Geldof among others as counsellors. 1500 leaders of tomorrow born between 1984-1987 will be elected by their peers from 192 countries around the world using BraveNewTalent.com’s platform. They will come together first for a leadership summit in London on February 8th-10th 2010. Am proud to say my old boss and mentor David Jones, CEO of Havas is one of the key business leaders behind the idea. 

The Mission

To give young people a leading voice on the world stage by integrating social networks globally. One Young World connects the ingenuity and creative energy of future leaders from every country and every sector, and equips them with the right tools, mentors, and supportive environment to:
• Craft bold, unified Resolutions to guide current world leaders in shaping the future that their generation will inherit;
• Develop the leaders of today and tomorrow; and
• Build a network of shared understanding and purpose for positive future impact.

The One Young World delegates will address five of the key issues affecting the world:
1. The Environment and its protection
2. Developing Political Leadership for a positive future
3. Global business and its role in shaping society through the economy
4. Global Health, its polarities and impact
5. Religion and Interfaith dialogue

A fantastic initiative to inspire youth to work together to create real change.