I have been trying to figure out if Gen Y doesn’t know about the potential impact of their digital footprint, or if they simply don’t care. I’m on the cusp of Gen Y-Gen X generations and I think that my online behavior is a bit more Gen X, to an extent. That is to say, more conservative.
I have a feeling Gen Y’s behavior is a combination of both insubordination and idiocy. When looking at online media habits it’s clear that Gen Y (see chart right), the group of youngsters currently about 11-30 years old, it is clear that they are not simple passive observers of online content, but rather content generators. They post photos, create music video mash-ups, maintain blogs and comment on others’ blogs, review products, make Facebook wall postings, and even post photos and videos of friends without consent. God know what else…
The younger part of this generation, in my opinion, revel in the opportunity to make a lasting “impact” online. The online social networks like Facebook and MySpace have become digital school yards where kids are continually vying and posturing for their place in the social hierarchy.
Think about the 2008 presidential election for a moment. 20 years go, or even 10 (I assume), most people didn’t publicly declare their political goings-on. Yet today we have an entire generation that has digitally pledged their political allegiance to President Obama (or McCain or Ron Paul for that matter who’s campaign has a bit to say about digital footprints last year) via Facebook “fan pages” and the Obamicon website application where folks can turn an average photo into a symbolic artistry of Shepard Fairey. (Shepard, ironically was recently arrested on charges of vandalism after a little “street art” a.k.a. graffiti. Another example of leaving mark on history.) Today rallies happen online. We are not marching on Washington we are marching on the Web. And the Web tends to be a much permanent march.
Daily Mail heralded “the ‘arrival of Generation Y – the graduate divas who want it all’ to the working world in 2008.” Though, I myself, am an entitled little sh*t, so I understand the appeal of Dirtying up the Web a bit. It sure might bit me in the ass years to come, but hey, a little irreverence never hurt. (I also happen to understand hypocrisy.)
Keep an eye on this space as I try to dig up more information on the generational differences as it relates to digital footprints.