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Saturday, July 26, 2008

It’s a Y-ed, Wide World

By Maria Elena Duron

Multicultural Networking Editor

I interviewed Vikki Pusong an avid blogger and bio-chemistry major in Manila, Philippines who I’ve connected with via the online world. I asked her, “does multiculturalism matter to Gen Y?” Vikki’s response was, “No really. Maybe it's because we don't really like to check if someone's Latina or Asian or Caucasian. It's like we're busier with what's happening in our social groups and the causes were into than finding out who's from where and who speaks what. It's like, your cultural background doesn’t really have an impact on what my views or opinions are. And I think most of the people I know are like that, too, even those from different countries and backgrounds.”

Oh yes, the Gen Y-ers or better known as the Millennials have a wide world thanks to social networking. “So what is it like to be a Gen Y-er?” you might ask. Take a peek of what’s happening in the multicultural environment of the Net Generation.

Multitasking made easy. Technology is everywhere and the Milllennials use it all the time like doing homework, finishing a project at work, and building relationships. This generation relies on emails, instant messengers, mobile phones, iPods, and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Believe it or not, they can listen to their iPods, reply to text messages and do their homework all at the same time. It seems like there’s no time to waste. They are ever so busy updating their Facebook profiles, uploading pictures in Flickr, posting new articles in their blogs and commenting on their friends’ post. This group is not only interested in playing computer games, they are very knowledgeable in making them, too. Sharing their games and personal information to the world is their thing. Imagine how many people connected to the internet that could see what they like to eat, what saddens them, or what music they rave about. They could easily find people all over the world who share the same interests and be friends with them by just a click of the mouse.

The word “friend” has a new meaning. If you search its meaning in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, you will find that a friend is “one who is attached to another by affection or esteem.” However, for a Gen Y-er, a friend is a contact in Friendster or MySpace. Don’t get me wrong, this generation is still interested in keeping relationships that involve feelings or affection. But we have to take note that they still keep a social network in cyberspace where “friends” is simply a tally of contacts in that certain site. “Friends” are the people who comment on their pictures or blogs or view their public profiles. Aside from social networking sites, they have made friends by playing online games, moderating forums and joining real time online discussions in mIRC or Yahoo! Messenger.

Gender and ethnicity is not a problem. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett Ph.D., authored books and studied about these “emerging adults” for years. He claims that they are more educated as compared to the older generations. The National Center for Education Statistics showed that the number of undergraduates in 2004 reached up to 17.3 million, a number twice as large as what is was in 1970s (8.6 million). Because of their knowledge in using computers and unique ways of making friends through the internet, Dr. Arnett’s studies shows that they have fewer barriers in terms of race and gender. Suddenly, the world has become flat. As long as they share the same and sometimes different views or interests, they can easily form connections with other people. They don’t really mind if the person is a man or a woman, whether they are multilingual or if they belong to a certain ethnic group. Dave Verhaagen, author of the book Parenting the Millennial Generation, mentioned that the Millennials have a potential to be a great generation because they can see other people beyond their age, gender, or ethnicity.

Welcome the new ways to promote social awareness. Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have found new ways to involve this group of emerging adults in creating social awareness. There are advocacy groups like “Support a Woman’s Right to Choose” and Pro-Life where members can join and rally support. Being collaborative is actually one of the positive traits of Generation Y. Why do you think MTV’s Anti-AIDS concerts sell like pancakes? It’s because Gen Y-ers think that life is an ongoing collaboration with different people. They just love getting involved, so more and more non-profit organizations take advantage of this opportunity to include them in various causes. This group made volunteering and civil involvement the “it” thing.

Gen-Yers have to go to work, too. I have come across this article in the internet called, “Attention Boomers: Generation Y Expects To Find You In Social Networks.” The author shared about a Talent Management head’s interview with a Gen Y candidate. The interviewer was stunned when the candidate mentioned that he couldn’t find him on the social network, LinkedIn. Obviously, aside from Googling the company name and its people prior to a job interview, the candidate tried to search for the HR Director’s profile in a social network to get to know the interviewer’s personality and see how he can make a connection. As for the working Gen Y-ers, studies show that they love to work with bosses who are fond of teaching new things and providing constant feedback. They enjoy learning in a dynamic and interactive environment.

The Gen Y-ers’ way of building and maintaining relationships has affected schools, jobs, and marketing industries. Also, more and more studies are made about Generation Y. Companies are now interested about their work patterns and how their lifestyle affects their output. Because of this group’s distinct behavior, aside from parents and employers, marketers are also keeping an eye on this new type of consumer. Truly, there’s a lot of potential in their humongous network that knows no boundaries. But the best way to really learn more about them is to join them and see what it’s like to be inside their Y-ed, wide world.

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1 comment:

Noelle from MA said...

I enjoyed this article very much.

With 3 young Millenialls myself, I am always looking to get more information about how to relate to & support them.

I appreciate that this article lets people know how unique & wonderful this generation is.

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