“With social media you have to quickly learn how to fit in and work with other people where you are not the centre of the universe. They see online that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Their natural behaviour is to be compassionate.
“Today they get online at 11 and 12-years-old – they are getting news in their newsfeed, they are reading articles about things like female genital mutilation and they are saying ‘I feel very strongly about that’.”
Other experts remain unconvinced that compassionate expression online actually leads to compassionate action. Rohit Talwar, who is a futurist at research firm Fast Future, is sceptical about the power of social media as an activator of empathy. He does however believe Millenials have increased global awareness and a hunger for change.
SPIRIT OF REFORM
Talwar explains: “I don’t think that we will see masses of Gen Y selling off their parents’ homes and then using it to home the homeless and cure diseases, but I do see that there will be a different attitude towards material wealth in that generation. With Gen Y you will see a lot of people coming through who are imbued with the spirit of reform and a zeal for change and an ability to ignore the doubting voices.”
Talwar continues: “Social media isn’t uniformly compassionate, it has enabled people to share their ideas but does it increase compassion? It varies – I see moments of compassion; an issue comes up and everyone ‘likes’ the issue but then everyone goes back to watching a video of Justin Bieber being smacked in the face.
“I don’t know if social media has made us more compassionate, but I definitely think it’s made it easier for people to raise awareness of issues across the planet.”
Jason Dorsey, Gen Y expert and co- founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics also believes Millennials are much better informed. He says: “Social media has made Gen Y much more aware of the challenges facing our world, especially on a global level, and our hope is that this awareness ultimately translates into action over the long term.”
Sue Honoré, associate research consultant at Ashridge Executive Education, says that while GenY has the opportunity to relate to and empathise with a wider group of people, “are they more compassionate? I think that is open to discussion.
“From our research, Gen Y looks for organisations that not only meet their job
criteria but also have ‘green’ or corporate social responsibility credentials. It is part of the decision process in accepting a job. So Gen Y is far more discerning in that respect.”
Honoré explains that Gen Y is more influenced by their peers than previous generations, so social media plays a strong part in their decision process about employers. The reputation of a company is not as strongly controlled by its own marketing efforts as in the past – previous customers and employees have a big influence, driven by social media communication.
Dorsey says the starkest global changes will be seen in around 2035 when Gen Y will reach peak age in terms of influence, earnings and voting power.
“Gen Y will likely have a more compassionate view about the world as they’ll have seen firsthand what happens when change is not made, as well as when changes are made that directly create positive outcomes. And all of that change will be documented in real-time in video, audio and photos.”
Dorsey believes that Gen Y will have children later in life than previous generations so they’ll be older parents with younger family. At the same time, he says Gen Y will live longer so they’ll be expecting to work longer to support themselves and their children.
“Finally, Gen Y will have the benefit and challenge of a world ripe with artificial intelligence and virtual reality which will introduce opportunities and challenges we literally cannot imagine today.
“Combine all that together, you’ll have a massive generation influencing governments, leading governments and increasingly trying to solve problems on a global scale as that will be the only scale that matters.”
11 Things you Should Know About Gen Y
1. They hate to be sold anything
2. They have always been rewarded for participation and not achievement
3. They don’t seek to acquire stuff
4.They can self-organise friends for grassroots activism
5. They trust peers first and parents second 6. They actively research prices and read reviews before making a purchase
7. They are driven by a desire to make a difference
8. They expect exceptional service
9. They seek to do business with ethical, trustworthy organisations
10. They value customisation
11. They remain detached from institutions, but closely networked with friends
Source: Sarah Sladek, author of‘Knowing Y: Engage the Next Generation Now’
Gen Y by Numbers
92% believe that business success should be measured by more than profit.
80 % prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews.
61% want to personally make a difference in the world.
50% want to start their own business, or have already done so.
2 years is their average employment tenure.
To read the original article, click here