I have been hearing and seeing a lot of online media with the word “Millennial” in it. That word (also known as generation y) describes “children of the day”; any one born from the 1980s to the early 2000s; this according to Wikipedia. I decided to look into this word and I found that reference was being made to the youth in general and it got me thinking: What is so significant about them, particularly in online media?
Let me first start by sharing specific stats on the youth and social media, and then I’ll gladly answer the question. According to Pew Internet, at least 90 percent of teens have access to or use the internet in one form or another. This is partly due to the availability and access of smart phones. The significance of Millennials is that they have a better understanding of digital mobile technology than the generation x, simply because they use them more. By indication, the focus of consumer driven content should be on the youth, i.e. youth marketing.
I read an article a few days ago (City Press) by Binwe Adebayo, on how more companies and organisations are opting to hire young people to help them build and maintain their brands online. Not only will this help these companies get a better understanding on how to attract younger generations, but this is also a form of job creation for the youth. In my opinion, the youth should change the conversations in their minds and start thinking about using the online business as a form of earning an income.
Why is this so important in Africa?
According to the African Economic Outlook, Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 200 million people between the ages of 15 and 24. This number is due to double by 2045! Of Africa’s unemployed, 60% are young people (International Labour Organization). The telecommunications market in Africa is one of the fastest growing in the world, but our internet penetration rate is still very slow as compared to the rest of the world. The two African countries leading in telecommunications and internet development are Kenya and South Arica respectively. Countries that are also not far within reach are: Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria. As it stands, Africa has the second-biggest mobile market in the world and smartphones outsell computers (4:1). It is said that by 2016, there will be at least one billion mobile phones in Africa where as currently, there are 650 million users of mobiles. This is much more than in Europe and the United States (African Renewal online).
When we compare these statistics, it’s clear to see that there is a whole lot of potential for youth in Africa to take advantage of the opportunity to be connected. Considering the fact that most employed and unemployed youth have some access to smartphones. The great thing about the internet is that it needs no lessons, and there are countless amounts of online courses free and paid for, that allow for people to get learned. Wouldn’t it be great if the very same platforms that are being used to keep up with social statuses, be tweaked into a business that will allow for the flow of engaging content?
Laci Texter perfectly describes the impact of Millennials in, 6 Things Millennials Know About Brand Communication That You Don’t. “A mounting body of research shows how, because they’ve grown up digital, Millennials’ brains are literally wired differently from previous generations. Other generations get into the digital mindset temporarily, ie. when they’re using the technology. Wired-in Millennials are pretty much in that mindset all the time. Because it’s native, they have a keen awareness of how the mind-on-digital works, and whether your brand communications are going to win hearts and minds online.”
Are Millennials set to take front stage in the digital world, yes! The change has already been in motion, prepare for a future that will be filled with young minds schooling older minds to get with the times!