I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this industry was made for a generation like us but we certainly had all the right conditions to be a success in it. You may argue that Gen Z, the ‘Youtube’ generation that are growing up with Ipads in their cribs (okay maybe not literally) are the perfect group to cultivate online personalities. However, we will probably have to wait until the majority of them finish secondary school before we make that judgement.
If I think about my career trajectory, in the conventional
sense of the word, it does fall incredibly short of what my parents achieved. My dad went to Imperial College on a scholarship. My mother worked everyday after school as a teenager to fund her extra tuition so that she could get the funds to attend university in London. They went on to become managing directors under the age of 35. When I think about how they had achieved all of this by the time I was taking my first steps, I look at myself at 25 and can’t help but realise how much has altered in these two and a half decades that make it near impossible for my peers and I to do what our parents’ generation did.
Job satisfaction for millennials
Then there’s me, I graduated in Art History but I’ve never wanted to work as a curator at a museum, be an art critic or even go on to do a masters degree in the subject. To me, education is a form of self enrichment – something that my Asian family have found incredibly confusing. As for skills for the workforce, most of us know by now that these can’t really be acquired from school. It took me a long time to realise how the culmination of your work experience history feed into and compliment each other, even with my seemingly diverse job history. And I honestly believe that my skill set, like yours (if you can relate to this), is highly transferrable – and not in that half-truth way that you claim at interviews. Yet when I was looking at job postings and descriptions, I realised that despite having accomplished what I wanted to professionally and academically, I’m actually not qualified to apply for anything more than an entry level position. And I graduated in 2013.
This is something that many in my generation face – from around 16 years old, we are encouraged to intern for the sake of our CV and mostly for free (in the UK its made compulsory at schools). While I can appreciate that there is a great difference between the responsibility given to an intern versus a member of the full time staff,
I still ask this question every now and then: why have we spent years of our childhood summers in stuffy offices with no pay out, even after we’ve finished school?
And this is the reason why I believe that millennials are ripe for the blogging industry. I mentioned this before in a previous post where I spoke about all the different roles it takes to be a good blogger. Research shows that 21% of people globally own and use two or more smart devices daily, and are active on social media. Millennials make up a majority proportion of those that fall into that criteria. Also combined with this technological curiosity is an affection toward globalisation. This upcoming statement is speculative but demographic-wise, I also believe that we’re more likely to travel the world and aspire to become yogis in Bali than anyone else. Why? Because we prioritise experiences over material milestones like purchasing our own car or first home, which are things that were crucial to our parents’ timeline of success. However, what we want in life has to factor in the question of what is attainable. Most of us, without our parent’s assistance, wouldn’t be able to afford a property below the age of 30. So my theory is that instead we look elsewhere for fulfilment in life, beyond the status quo that was established before us.
If experiences are really what we are after as a generation, then blogging is the perfect complement to our professional and personal lives. The creativity and sense of authority that a platform like a blog or a social media account provides us with, is notably more than what you can experience from the majority of entry level jobs. The flexibility, socialising and control that we exercise with the option to perhaps, in the near future become self-employed, panders to the millennial mindset for freedom over our day to day.
The ‘Me’ Mentality
As millennials, we are also known to be slaves to ourselves. Okay, that was dramatic. What I mean is that we have an incredibly ‘me’ attitude and no, it’s not a simple personality thing. It’s something bigger than us as individuals – it’s the world we grew up in that has been cast under the shadow of the 2008 economic crisis, and the spreading sentiment
of anti-globalisation in conflict with urban liberalism. All of this has been telling us – protect yourself, represent yourself in the best way, enrich yourself, educate yourself, it’s your life, you’re the protagonist it’s about YOU.
At least this is what we are hearing, which is why Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat were so wildly popular. We build these profiles where each message or image has an ephemeral shelf- life. We go on molding our online identity via these tools. And we keep changing as individuals – after all we are the very generation that champion causes like gender fluidity. So something as responsive as Instagram is perfect for demonstrating that we are evolving creatures with more to offer than the job title on our LinkedIn pages or the groups we follow on Facebook when we were 12. (May I add that they are incredibly embarrassing and tedious to go through and unfollow).
Power to the people
Is blogging and social media a product of our times that we helped to make the success that it is? Could you fathom that as a consumer, because of our collective attitudes and preferences that we could make a tech giant irrelevant? It was us that made Facebook a necessity in our lives! In the very recent past, the message had always been: this product perfectly appeals to millennials, this company has been a success and they’ve done something right. Perhaps, with our desire to express ourselves and the way that we harness social media to shout about what we love and what we don’t – it’s us that has the power. Having worked with consumer analytics, its now very clear that
brands want to understand and adapt to our preferences, rather than asking us to learn how to use or interact with them. However, it is only as a collective that our voices are truly effective (think online customer reviews, five-star ratings etc) – until the rise of the Influencer, where an individual holds the breadth, range and strength of thousands of voices.
So this is why I believe that we as a generation were made to produce bloggers and influencers. If things had turned out differently these people would have different titles but their function would remain the same. We as a generation see the value and greatness in numbers. And as individuals, we may not consciously want to make it all us when we are on social – but you have to admit that being heard does feel good.
Shot by Hollie, @hbuxtonphoto
Paper London set
Urban Outfitters sunglasses