Get Ready To Embrace Justin Bieber, Gen-Y In Your Social Media Plans. - Social Media Pearls

Get Ready To Embrace Justin Bieber, Gen-Y In Your Social Media Plans.

For me, the Holiday Season is all about spending time with family and close friends, and this is exactly what I did. I love the fact that I can reconnect on a deeper level with the younger adults in my life and because of my social media connection, the bond has grown stronger over the years. Why have I decided to share this with you?

Well, recently Justin Bieber’s name has come up a number of times
when discussing social media. For some reason, it is usually raised with distain and disbelief of any real drive or engagement he has in social media. I listen somewhat perplexed at the attitude. Why?  From my perspective, he is one of the first and  most successful social media case study. Hands down. When traditional avenues were not open to them, he and his mother used the one’s that were familiar and readily available. He started on YouTube, built his fanbase of loyal subscribers with record numbers (currently at 2+ Billion views), created mass engagement using Twitter (currently at 14Million followers)  and Facebook (currently at 37 Million likes)…. and continues to use these tools seamlessly, as if he was born with them. Hold on a minute, he was!  Justin Bieber was born in 1994, a member of Generation Y/ Z similar to the young adults in my circle.  His mother, Pattie Bieber, was born in 1976- late Generation X, early Generation Y member. They look at this media totally different to those of earlier generations. This is why I decided to write about this topic. In order to stay in the “game” for the long haul, I believe it is important to understand the attitudes of the different generations.  As a result, I conducted a little research to better understand these different attitudes. So I am going to get a little academic in some places to make the point. Here goes!

Western characteristics that define the following generations are:

The Silent Generation/ Traditionalists, ST (1925-1945) : Age ~ 65+ yrs

Technology Virgins.

  • Children of the Great Depression and World War II.
  • Raised in a paternalistic environment and hard times.
  • High respect for authority.
  • A tendency not to question or ruffle feathers.
  • Labor intensive hardworking generation with strong work ethic that worked in factories of a industrialized society.
  • Willing to put in long, grueling hours to get ahead.
  • High loyalty.
  • Era of mechanical automation and the radio.
  • Primary form of communication: printed paper and radio.

Baby Boomers, BB (1946-1964): Age ~ 45-65yrs

Technology Challenged

  • Children of World War II parents; a sense of changing the world however have a challenge managing change themselves.
  • A disregard for authority and rejection of tradition.
  • Hardworking workaholics very focused on their careers; live to work.
  • They hold positions of power and authority- make up a large majority of today’s leaders, corporate executives and management.
  • Very competitive; believe in hierarchical structure and rank. Power and control are valued.
  • Define themselves by their professional accomplishments. Self absorbed.
  • This generation will be retiring very soon at a rate of 8000 per day (in North America).
  • Confident and independent: Comfortable challenging authority.
  • Relatively loyal.
  • Era of tape recordings, telephone and television.
  • Primary form of communication: letters, newspapers, radio, face-to-face, telephone and television.

Generation J (1954-1965): Age ~ 45-55 yrs

Technology Aware

  • This generation represents the younger baby boomer years.
  • Sharing traits of both the baby boomers and Generation X.
  • Materialistic – keeping up with the Jones (J).
  • Remembers life before the introduction of mass technology.

 Generation X (1965-1980s): Age ~ 30-45yrs

Technology Adopters

  • The family circle is redefined in this generation. More tolerant of alternative lifestyles.
  • High divorce rates; more women in the workforce.
  • A casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. Values flexibility.
  • Dislike being micro-managed.
  • First generation to grow up with computers.
  • Sees changes from manufacturing from the mechanical era to service era.
  • Less committed to their employers. Less loyalty
  • Change in work ethics: Work to live rather than live to work
  • Adapt well to change; ambitious and eager to learn new skills
  • Want to accomplish things on their own terms.
  • Integrates humor and social into the workplace.
  • Remembers life before the introduction of mass technology. Capable of blending the old with the new approach to technology.
  • Era of computers, cell phone, email, PDA and laptops.
  • Primary form of communication: email replaces letters, newspapers, radio, television, videos and desktop computing. Prefers reading hardcopy print, face-to-face and telephone.

Generation Y (1980s-2000): Age ~ under 30yrs

Technology Savvy

  • This generation grew up with technology and cannot remember a time without it.
  • Relies on technology as part of their daily life to communicate with their friends and to perform their jobs.
  • This generation is plugged-in 24/7; they require high engagement/feedback.
  • Highly educated.
  • Totally different work ethic to earlier generations; they are willing to trade high paying jobs for flexible schedules and a better work/life balance; want meaningful work.
  • Confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. They have high expectations of their employers and not scared to ask for what they want.
  • Not afraid to question authority. In fact there is a lack of trust in authority.
  • They are entrepreneurial.
  • They have a need for fun, flexibility and appreciation at work (engagement and feedback is valued).
  • They prioritize family and social circle over work.
  • They readily assimilate technology into what they do.
  • Era of Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
  • Primary form of communication: Prefers to e-mail, text messaging and social networks rather than face-to-face; Prefers webinars and online technology to traditional lecture-based presentations.

Generation Z (1990+): Age ~ under 20yrs

Technology Naturally Mastered

  • The internet and mobile generation. Also known as the IGeneration.
  • This generation grew up with technology and cannot remember a time without it.
  • Highly connected and highly engaged.
  • Lifelong use of communication technologies i.e. text messaging, MP3 players, iTunes and instant messaging.
  • They carry a mobile phone so that they can text and access the internet at any given time. They always have their phone for this reason.
  • They are growing up with an expectation that connectivity is not limited by a desktop computer.
  • Completely born in the era of globalization; a business and social world without borders.
  • Curate information online at a phenomenal rate; a natural activity.
  • Technology is so integrated into their lives, they have mastered it in a way that they do not think about it. Technology is as natural as breathing; they do not categorize it, like earlier generations.
  • Preferred communication: Short texting , pictures and videos.

Once you understand these general characteristics, it is easy to understand the different attitudes to social media by the different generations. Generation Y and Z values, entrepreneurial spirit and use of social media are far more advanced and seamless compared to earlier generations.

Generation Y and Z “live” social media, whereas the older generations tend to be more analytical and  talk about social media.  Today many of the corporate leaders are from the baby boomers generation and are about to retire at an unprecedented rate.  In a few years, those leaders will be replaced by a more mobile  X or Y generation and their work ethics are markedly different to the early hierarchical, stationary corporate-focused generations.  So, be ready to be mobile,  to embrace “texting” and removing the borders of your thinking. Without a doubt, your mid-long term social media plans needs to incorporate/address these attitudes… starting with your 2012 plan. The egos of the older generations should be set aside and they must consider a more collaborative approach to work across the generations to truly maximize the potential of social media going forward.  As a Generation J myself, I certainly do embrace it! But then I am a Gen Y/Z wannabe!

Your turn! What do you think? Go ahead and share with your network to continue the conversation.

As always, thank you for visiting. 2012 is going to be our year!


Hippy photo from kevin dooley

29 Responses to “Get Ready To Embrace Justin Bieber, Gen-Y In Your Social Media Plans.”

  1. Thank you for this excellent perspective.

  2. Have a Relaxing and Fantastic Sunday Night!

  3. I just read something and posted it on my FB wall yesterday that says Gen Joneses is is for my age group and it covered 1960 – 1965

  4. Thank you Shirley for sharing this post about our generations! Have a great Monday! Best, Lucas

  5. Great perspective … I just wish I didn’t have to deal with Justin Bieber in grappling with the concepts. 😉

  6. Shirley, thank you for sharing with everyone. I can tell you put a good amount of effort into this article. I always wonder how long it take people to write their articles. Would you mind sharing how long it took you to write this article? Always a curious mind :-).

    I look forward to your future works.

    • Hi Jason!
      Thank you for popping by. I do put a lot of effort into my posts. I have a rolling list of ideas that I add commentary at any given time then select the one I will post. The idea for this post started during the holidays with fragmented notes. Then full focus over the weekend with additional research and writing. I would say that this particular post is about one day’ work. If you count all the hours from conception.

      I look forward to future visits 🙂

  7. thank you for this article. greetings from Berlin.

  8. It tickles me that you call yourself a Y/Z wannabe. I am late baby boomer (born in 1964) myself and yet for a variety of reasons I greatly prefer IM’s to phone calls and don’t value real life face to face that much. I found these capsules of the different generations fascinating, Shirley. Thanks so much for a great article.

    • Thank you for popping by and sharing your perspective! We are both from Generation J which I only realized until recently. Apparently, we are the generation without a voice and have only recently found it. I find this whole topic totally fascinating and although I personally don’t like to be put in any box ( the little rebel in me), there are some characteristics here that I think worth digesting and why I decided to write the post. Especially after talking to my niece and nephew … and of course those younger adults/teenagers who are using this media like riding a bike! I have had varied feedback on this particular post- which in itself is fascinating!

      Thank you for continuing the conversation.

  9. Very useful post. It was very relavant. I was looking exaxtly for this. Thank you for your effort. I hope you will write more such useful posts.

  10. Great share Shirley! Let’s rock Generation Y! 🙂


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