Can you think back to a time when the Internet was not part of your life? If you’re anything like most twenty-somethings these days, your memory would likely be foggy.
Life before the Internet is a distant memory for many millennials. Members of Gen Y use the World Wide Web for nearly every aspect of life. Whether it’s to research credible sources for a school essay, order takeout for dinner, watch streamed television shows, or meet new people through cyberspace, the Internet has become a hugely integral part of our lives.
While the wide use of the Internet is not necessarily negative, it has had some lasting effects on millennials’ lives. Here are five noticeable ways the Internet has impacted the lives of millennials:
1. Millennials use technology to communicate.
It’s common practice for members of Gen Y to catch up with their families, friends, and significant others through social media channels and texting, rather than talking on the phone.
According to a recent Forbes study, millennials are known for carrying conversations on social media through chats and photos, which satisfies the need to communicate. Gone are the days where people engage in dialogue in person. Today, most millennials resort to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram photos, and texting to communicate regularly.
2. Millennials read differently.
Compared to past generations, members of Gen Y have come up with a unique way to read: scanning. Millennials are known to scan for information, as they read with purpose.
Using Google as a hub of information, many millennials absorb relevant information very quickly by scanning through the Internet to find what they’re looking for. These days, keywords, trending hashtags on Twitter, and quick bursts of information on social media channels provide gateways into relevant content for twenty-somethings.
3. Millennials consume media differently.
Unlike older generations, most millennials consume media through streaming services. Television doesn’t have to be watched live anymore. Instead, channels like Netflix and Hulu give viewers the freedom to binge-watch shows at their leisure.
Radio shows and music can be streamed through apps like iHeart radio and Pandora. Examples of technological services like these give users the control. With a decent Internet connection, these technologies offer immediate access. For millennials, this freedom and autonomy is the norm.
4. Millennials are online shoppers.
Courtesy of online marketing efforts, members of Gen Y are known for their online shopping trends. A recent study published in Entrepreneur explains how millennials use social media as their primary source for shopping news.
Digital advertising is the most popular channel for twenty-somethings of today’s generation to seek out special deals and product news, with television and print advertising falling behind. Additionally, millennials are known to shop online and pickup in store to avoid store traffic. Online shopping at its finest, right?
5. Millennials share reviews.
More than any other generation, members of Gen Y feel compelled to share their product and experience reviews online. Whether it’s a review on a recent Amazon purchase, or a stay at an Airbnb, millennials are likely to rate and review their experiences.
Review sites like Yelp and social media platforms give customers every opportunity to share. Based on findings from Kissmetrics, 93% of millennials reported making a purchase based on recommendations from a relative or friend. Reviews carry great weight in Gen Y traditions. The popularity of sites like BuyersGuide.org have also grown, which provide consumers with the latest review information on a wide range of products.
Millennials have grown up in a digital age where the Internet permeates into arguably every facet of life. From school, to work, to relationships, and hobbies twenty-somethings use cyberspace to communicate, research, review, and explore. We’re always connected.
Luckily, twenty-somethings of today’s generation know exactly how to use online resources to their advantage. While some of the effects the Internet has had on millennials’ lives may seem negative, it’s actually a useful tool. Millennials are digital natives with widespread knowledge of the cyberspace territory. In work, school, and beyond, this natural knack for Internet use is actually a gift. Technology is everywhere these days, and millennials are among the brightest, most experienced users.