Are you part of the “Millennial” generation – that’s anyone born after 1980? If so, you’re part of the first generation experts say are “always connected.” According to MSNBC, Millennials stay connected by obsessively updating their Facebook pages and Twitter streams. In fact, most teens spend 31 hours a week online, which is almost a full time job! A new study shows that as they get older, start families, and move up the corporate ladder, they’re going to keep sharing.
The Pew Research Center surveyed nearly a thousand technology experts to get their take on online sharing. The result? Two-thirds of experts say that for Millennials, sharing is the new normal, because they already use social networking sites to find job opportunities, make new personal connections, collaborate on professional projects and stay in touch with family and friends. However, as they age, the things they share will change. Researchers say Millennials will tame things down and become more introspective. So, instead of posting pictures of a wild Las Vegas trip, they’ll post pictures of their baby’s first tooth. Instead of an update on the club they went to – it’ll be about the new gadget they got. Since this generation has grown up with this type of technology, it will always be a part of their lives. Just as they migrated from Friendster to My Space to Facebook to Twitter – the medium may change but their interaction will stay constant.
A recent report done by the Pew Research Center has this quote, which seems to nail it: "This generation treats their multitasking handheld gadgets almost like a body part — for better and worse." So is that a good thing? Yes and no. Social media does help people feel connected – but nothing will ever replace face to face interactions. As we’re already seeing, even though people may have been “friended” by a thousand people online - experts say those connections are superficial and increasingly becoming their only connections. People need real friendships. A study by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that people with fewer than six friends are two-and-a-half times more likely to die at an earlier age. So go ahead and collect friends online – just not to the detriment of your real world connections.