There are varying responses to the question: What is a millennial? Most people in 2015 will accept that millennials are a group of young people who were born after the turn of the millennium and have grown up in the digital age. A further definition encapsulates anyone in this current year who is between the ages of 18-28 and again is digitally savvy.
However, there are those who would argue that millennials can be of almost any age because anyone of any age has the capability to grow as technology and the digital world does.
The Oxford Dictionary has two differing definitions for millennial, the first of which is that the word denotes or relates to a period of one thousand years. The second however states that a millennial is a person or people who are reaching adulthood around the year 2000, which opens up the term to a wider range of people.
With this in mind, it seems clear that although there is a vague age range that makes it easy to label who millennials are, but it is really the mindset of a this group of people that encapsulates what is it to be a millennial.
Technology is in the hands of the millennial
In general the millennial mindset is hard-geared towards smartphones and basically anything that allows them to spend several hours a day on the internet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a millennial will be constantly wasting time surfing the internet, as quite often, having a decent, if not proficient knowledge of how to use internet resources will play at least some part of a millennial’s job.
It’s a known fact that all industries are becoming more digital and technologically advanced, as such employees to any company have to at least have a basic knowledge of how to use computer and internet systems.
For millennials, using computers and things like CMS, basic coding, photoshop and all of Google’s office tools are second nature – the latter of which can of course be accessed via their smartphone, meaning that important information can be checked with just a couple of swipes.
The millennial mindset is not to question whether or not there is a Wi-Fi connection, instead this person takes it as read that they will be able to access the internet at their leisure and without interruption.
Technology is opportunity
Where others might see technology as something that has to be dealt with or must be learned, millennials tend to believe that technology and its advances represent opportunity. There is always something new to learn from technology, something to experience, which could be of help to a millennial’s home life or career.
Learning how to use different and often complex types of technology and digital systems can give employees an edge over their coworkers. As there are easy ways to learn new languages with the likes of mobile applications such as Duolingo, technology can open up an entire new world of work for millennials who are keen to expand their skills.
The need to be connected
Although millennials are interested in technology as a way to progress their lives and future success, there is no doubting that digital technologies also play a massive part in the need to be connected to other people.
With the millennial mindset, the need to be connected to other people can mean that people want to speak to people constantly, which of course they can do with things like WhatsApp, Facebook Chat, Google Chat and other similar services. However, the need to be connected goes further than this and can have little to do with actually constructing a conversation with anyone.
Thanks to social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people and notably millennials can post their every thought up on the internet. If you’ve heard the phrase ‘live tweeting’ then you’ll know just how literal this digital stream of consciousness can be.
Millennials as a group feel the need to check up on what other people are doing and to post a moment by moment analysis of their holidays, meals and whatever else pops into their minds. This need to journal things and keep track of what other people journal has lead to a negative social phenomenon called fomo.
Fomo, or fear of missing out, has obviously been something that has been around well before the inception of social media, but it is social media that has given it its own acronym. Millennials, more than any other group of people have a mindset that is constantly challenged by fomo.
To an extent you could even say that it is fomo that drives millennials to learn more, to further their careers with digital technology because by doing these things, they are ensuring that they don’t miss out on opportunities, or ways to improve themselves and their lives.