This means that Gen Y is not just your 20 year olds who have recently started in the workforce, may still live at home, and have never had to learn about 'responsibility'.
Gen Y, if you go by OzTam's definition, is someone who this year is turning anywhere between 19 and 33. (FYI, this means that Baby Spice, Cat Deeley, Alicia Silverstone and Jennifer Capriati are still technically Gen Y. Even Fred Savage fits in here!)
It's a big age range, and I am included in it. Which is why it frustrates me when people generalise Gen Y's as lazy, indecisive, and arrogant. It makes me cringe everytime I hear someone excuse the behaviour of a 'young person' as being "so Gen Y".
Or when they make statements on the way 'we' act. Do you really think you can place a 33 year old in the same category as someone who is 19? Can you really say they both consume media in the same way, have similar attitudes, want the same things out of a job?
According to 19 year old Zac, who writes Pigs Don't Fly, he is stereotypical Gen Y. And he lists his media habits as:
- No newspapers (instead he reads blogs on topics in which he's interested)
- No radio (he illegally downloads music, and listens to it on his iPhone)
- No TV (he watches programs on YouTube, or illegally downloads it soon after it has aired in the US)
Zac goes on to say that "if you're still using these channels to advertise to Gen Y, you're an idiot. And if you're producing media based on these business models, you're fucked."...
But I think you're an idiot if you take into consideration the media consumption habits of only one member of Gen Y.
As an example, here's a bit about me:
- I read newspapers, but only on the weekend, and even then I tend to read just the first couple of pages, followed by all of the Good Weekend (or the S Liftout on Sundays). I check headlines on a major newspaper site once each day. I also receive RSS feeds from approximately 120 blogs or sites that have content I am interested in. I think it's important to not only read news from your 'tribe' however, and to receive a broad range of opinions and news. If I only read blogs on the type of music I love, I may never discover new artists. If I only ever checked out entertainment websites, I'd know nothing about world politics.
- I listen to the radio. All the time. And yes, I do a radio segment, but that's not the only reason I love radio. Radio is amazing for exposing me to new artists, educating me, and giving me a local community. It's nice to be able to relate to a voice, rather than just the written (or typed) word. Sure, I can (and do) discover new music through blogs and hype machine, but I love that local radio lets me hear all about what is going on in my area - from gigs, to festivals, to trends and gallery events. And it sometimes surprises me. Searching for music online gives me far fewer surprises. I also listen to music via online streaming, podcasts, on CD, through downloaded mp3s (some legally, some illegally), and on my iPhone.
- I watch television. But I do prefer to have things on demand. I only recently got Foxtel IQ, and it has changed the way I watch TV. I no longer watch what is on, I set the IQ to record shows I love, and watch them when I'm free. I don't have enough time to program my life around my TV, I want my shows available when convenient to me. I also check YouTube every few days to see what videos are currently popular... just to make sure I'm not missing out on anything! I also stream some of my shows online, so that I can watch them straight after they've been on-air in the US.
So, there are a few similarities between Zac & myself.
1. We both consume media both legally & illegally.
2. We both partially consume music through an mp3 player
3. We both download podcasts
4. We both prefer to have content on demand (and will download it in order to have it immediately)
5. We're probably both early adopters of new media (I would say it would be a minority of 19-33 year olds who have their own blogs, and regularly use tools such as Twitter, RSS feeds, and podcast downloading)
But there are probably even more differences.
And yet, OzTam would stick the same label on both of us.
If you are trying to target Gen Y, I would be more likely to recommend that you view us as a generation defined by behaviour, not age. Are you trying to reach the 'cool kids' who would never live outside of 2010, read HRO, and can name every remix played at Bandits? Or are you trying to reach the young people with high disposable income who still live at home? Or the Gen Ys who work full time, and are saving to buy a house?
Point is, a Gen Y demographic on your next campaign just won't work. Because we're not the same.