In a world where it seems like 5-year-olds are walking around with cell phones, it’s hard to determine when face-to-face interaction stopped being valued like it used to be, and why. In today’s society of ever-evolving innovation and constant change, one might say it was simply inevitable. There is just too much going on to not take advantage of quick communication that’s literally in the palm of our hands. Millennials are simply at the forefront of this idea.
The term “Millennial” refers to Generation Y, or those between the ages of 18 and 34 in 2015. Everyone is familiar with the Millennial generation, and a lot of the population is a part of it. Some may find it difficult to communicate with this group of people because of their dependence on technology and heavy use of social networking and mobile devices. Millennials rely on cell phones and other small hand-held devices, like Apple Watches, to communicate because of their convenience and portability.
Digitally Written Communication vs. On the Phone or In-Person
According to Business Insider, the overload of smartphones and mobile-centric communities has led to the global use of these devices. Perhaps the biggest reason that Millennials prefer mobile communication is their “immediate and consistent access to others with the touch of a button.” Through downloaded applications and free Wi-Fi nearly everywhere now, it’s become easier than ever to be in non-stop communication with anyone, see what others are doing around the world, or quickly reference a piece of information.
According to Forbes, Millennials prefer these methods of communication as opposed to phone calls because the user is able to edit their response before sending it. They can think about their words for as long as they need and craft the message just right, instead of feeling like they are on the spot and risking saying something they regret. Text messages and emails also seem to provide a sort of seamless communication throughout the day, which is perceived as better than setting specific time aside in one’s schedule to handle a phone call.
Apps such as Snapchat and Instagram allow users to see what their friends are doing in that very moment through “stories” that last only 24 hours before disappearing. It’s been found that Millennials are moving towards highly interactive platforms like these, and collaborative, easily adoptable platforms like Slack for the office. These apps offer a less strict method of communication that is very attractive to the Millennial generation.
Email is Still at the Forefront of Mobile Communication
Adobe recently released its second annual consumer email survey and found some interesting facts. According to the study, Americans are “addicted to email.” It was found that despite the growing use of apps like Snapchat and Slack, email remains the ultimate multitasking communication preference, referred to as the “Alpha Channel.” Survey respondents reported a 17 percent increase in time spent checking emails since last year’s survey. Shockingly, 20 percent of Millennials even check their email while behind the wheel, and nearly half of respondents admitted to checking email in the bathroom. Considering the increase in text message communication, it was also found that emails have gotten shorter and more relaxed, with nearly half of the population incorporating emojis into professional emails. Marketers say that email is still the best, most successful method for them. In today’s world however, timeliness and impact are of the utmost importance in reaching the desired audience. Patience has dwindled and with the ease of receiving information, the population is less willing to spend time reading information that doesn’t directly apply to them or is received at an inconvenient time. Regardless, the increase in information consumption via mobile cannot be ignored.
It’s important to keep these findings in mind when communicating with Millennials. Since they are the largest generation in the United States, surpassing even the Baby Boomers, it’s critical to understand how to best reach them in order to communicate effectively.