By Sarah McDowell
I saw this outside The Counting Room, a popular bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The bar encouraged its patrons to step away from their social feeds and connect with each other on a more personal level instead.
MTV recently conducted a meta-study on the younger end of the Millennial demographic to understand how teens today are different than their 20-something counterparts. Among many of the findings in ” The New Millennials Will Keep Calm and Carry On ,” MTV uncovered how teens across the US are adopting “maker” culture (once attributed to niche corners of Brooklyn and Silver Lake) … in spite of the stereotype that all they do is plug into laptops and iPhones.
A bit of background: Young Millennials (aged 13-17 in 2013) have always been conscious of the chaotic, hyper-competitive world that has slowly become a reality for the rest of us over time.
They know nothing other than an economic downturn, and are aware from a young age that the world is a hyper-competitive place – from college admissions to a tight job market. Bombarded in social media by images of Boston Bombings, Sandy Hook School, tornados and hurricanes, they’ve been raised in an “always-on” world where they are tapped into multiple feeds 24/7 and perpetually responsible for maintaining their online personal presence. To a Boomer or even Xer, this kind of “coming-of-age” sounds downright exhausting.
But this generation of youth is surprisingly adapting just fine. They’ve developed their own coping mechanisms to self-soothe, de-stress and de-stimulate. In MTV’s research, one of the coping mechanisms we observed is that teens today are unexpectedly choosing to take a break from “multi-tasking” and instead “mono-task,” meaning focus on immersive hands-on activities, like baking, sewing or crafting.
In fact, 57% like to take a break from technology to make things with their hands… and 82% agree “when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I like to stop and just do one thing at a time.” As Julia, 17 puts it “When I craft I’m in the zone, it really soothes me.”
But this doesn’t mean they completely abandon technology in the before and after moments that bookend their making experiences.
They study up in an endless library of DIY YouTube videos, learning how to hand craft books or sew custom iPad cases. They delve deep into Reddit forums to find the perfect way to brown butter with sea salt for chocolate chip cookies, as explained to us by 17-year-old baker Angela, author of Nagel’s Bagels. They watch hours of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on Netflix to understand the intricate dynamics of vampire stake making, as told to us by 13-year old Alice who whittles various types of stakes in her spare time.
And the important finishing touch? An Instagram photo of their creation to show the world the 7-layer cake that took 2 hours to bake and 5 minutes to eat. With social media, crafts & baked goods are granted a “second life” and serve an important function in helping hone one’s personal self-brand. We see teens today even more adept at developing their unique persona from a young age, realizing both the need to stand out to get social media likes and, moreover, showcase a unique side to get noticed in a highly competitive college admission process.
What we’re beginning to see is an emergence of “tech homesteaders,” who are nearly perpetually plugged in but carving out spaces to detach and return to the roots of humanity and do things by hand. The pickling, cheese-making and crafting movement we’ve seen in niche urban pockets seems to be finding appeal with these young teens across the country, with 8 in 10 agreeing “sometimes I just need to unplug and enjoy the simple things.”
This piece was originally published on Media Biz Bloggers
By Stephanie Monohan
The adult vs teen “generation wars” are heating up in social media. It seems everyone is hyper-consious of generational stereotypes, and ready to get in on critiquing other generations. A few recent examples:
The hashtag #followateen resurfaced last week, encouraging adults to follow a random teenaged Twitter-user and post about what they find.
It seems that many of those who used the hashtag may not have actually followed teens, but the punchline ultimately was that teens and young adults overshare on social media, are opinionated about things are only relevant to their age-group, and sprinkle their language with emojis, which equally confound and amuse adults. However, it didn’t take long for teens to strike back, led by their fearless leaders of Rookie Mag:
The #followateen vs. #followanadult phenomenon occurred merely a few days before Time Magazine published its much-discussed cover story, “Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation.” Intelligent, well-researched critiques of Joel Stein’s piece surfaced immediately, but perhaps the best response (or at least the funniest) can be found in #followanadult.
So as we are in “generational-hyperconsious mode” it appears. Boomers seem to have adopted a 2013 version of “kids these days…”. While Millennials, on the other hand, find it ironic that equally tech-addicted Boomers make fun of youth tech use. In the past, generations socialized more in separate spaces, making this generational tension a little less obvious…but now one of the unexpected by-products of Twitter ubiquity might be its use as the new battleground of intergenerational conflict!
By Matt Cohen, MTV Insights
In true Millennial fashion, the students behind the recently-launched “NYU Hook Ups” Facebook page are taking an organized and responsible approach to…well, anonymous sex. Tackling their new venture with the same dedication and efficiency they’d normally reserve for an extracurricular activity, these students are helping classmates hook up faster and smarter.
Why waste time scanning through hundreds of OKCupid profiles when you can post anonymously on NYU Hook Ups and wait for the “Likes” from potential hook up buddies to roll in?
Some of “NYU Hook Ups” safety and efficiency features include:
- a 2-step verification process to confirm that hook-up seekers are actual NYU students (No need to open yourself up to Craigslist randos when you can stay within the safety of your college bubble)
- a commitment to keeping post-ers “100% anonymous” and to “hook[ing] you up in less than 24 hours” (Sure beats Match.com’s six-month guarantee)
- an advisory urging users to “be careful” and “always make sure to use condoms” (Thank you free NYC condoms!)
As Millennials take unexpectedly responsible approaches towards other “taboo” or “rebellious” behaviors – whether it’s serving as the sober “babysitter” for a friend who is planning to get wasted or using home testing kits to make sure their molly is free of “harmful substances” – this generation is truly redefining what it means to have “good clean fun.”
UPDATE: NYU Hook Ups announced yesterday that they will be transitioning over to a full site with a more sophisticated interface. Could we be witnessing the birth of a new start-up?
As the election draws to a close, @MTVInsights asked our college interns to tell the story of how their generation has engaged with this election over social media. Many have coined this the “first social election”… and for first time voters like our interns, they know nothing else. Millennials have been sharing witty memes and Tweefs (def: beefs in Twitter), as well as smartly utilizing online resources to fact check and discover their presidential soul mate.
Our interns Carly Ivrey and Hannah Nicklas share the most frequent kinds of political posts grazing the walls of their social media accounts…
1. Vote for Meme!
The presidential debates have allowed Millennials to go crazy creating GIFs and memes to express our opinions on politics. Even if a meme comes with a point of view, it’s usually more based on ribbing the subject’s reputation rather than policy, so supporters from both sides might be able to have a laugh.
During most of the debates, Millennials live Tweeted their opinions about what was happening on screen. They also poked fun at some of the crazier things politicians said by creating fake twitter accounts like @FiredBigBird and @RomneysBinders.
Instagram users got political by posting photos of things like their morning coffee in 7-Eleven’s “candidate cups,” their friends in politician costume masks, and images of their laptops as they watched a candidate’s speech
While many humorous political videos have been made by previous generations (and SNL shows little sign of slowing down), Millennials took it into their own hands to create something entertaining and kind of (but not really) informative. Some of our favorites:
· “Mitt Romney Style” (a parody of “Gangnam Style”)
· “99 Problems Explicit Political remix” (a mash-up of videos clips that produce President Obama’s take on Jay-Z’s hit) are a few examples of popular political viral videos.
· “Epic Rap Battles: Romney vs Obama” (Romney + Obama duke it out rap style)
5. "Dot Gov"
6. Finding a Presidential Soul Mate
On a serious note, quiz websites like ISideWith.com helped many Millennials, us included, to figure out which candidate really mirrored our opinions. These were a great stepping stone for us to learn more about the candidates, and with the sharing app, it was a great way to learn more about friends’ views too!
Fact-checking is extremely important to Millennials, since we were raised on Google. People posted tons of videos from FlackCheck.org showing what candidates said and revealing the truth behind their statements. Plus these videos run no longer than a minute, making them perfect for our ADD generation.
Whatever our opinions may be, whatever our approach may be, we all used our technology-savvy skills to make sure we were heard leading up to the election. Plus, it gave us another reason to keep humming the tune of “Gangnam Style”.