Why Everything You Think You Know About Millennials Is Wrong

Lazy. Impatient. Materialistic know-it-alls. Self-absorbed.

These words are synonymous with the Millennial generation.

And hey, if you’re anything like me, then that’s exactly what you’ve been thinking of this new generation that has been entering into the work force.

But after doing some digging, I was able to discover that there is a chance that maybe, just maybe, I got it wrong.

There are a lot of things you don’t know about the generation that tweets for food and documents every second of their lives on social media.

Millennials are the most expressive generation in recent history. They are eager to voice their positive and negative opinions about the world freely.

Millennials want to challenge the status quo and aren’t afraid to express that.

Recently, I had a chance to speak with Simantini Chakraborty, co-founder of Exacly.me, an application that allows Millennials to express themselves in an authentic way.

Exacly.me doesn’t focus on sharing things we all agree with but instead has an emphasis on the varied opinions that make us unique. Its initial beta results refute several common misconceptions we may have had about Millennials.

1. Millennials are materialistic.

The media portrays Millennials as narcissistic, shallow, and materialistic brats. Contrary to popular opinion, that really isn’t the case.

Millennials tend to value experiences more than owning things. They believe that living a happy and meaningful life is about creating, sharing, and capturing memories earned through experiences.

According to Chakraborty’s data, 61 percent of Millennials expressed opinions on non-materialistic things across various life experiences. They showed interest in travel, healthy living, sports, pets, music, family, and more.

2. Millennials are narrow-minded.

Many people feel that Millennials see the world only in black and white. However, nearly a third of the Millennials who use Exacly.me have expressed multilayered points of views.

Millennials not only have access to more information but more freedom of speech than any previous generation. Generation Y tends to consider themselves Generation “why.” Young people across the world are questioning the status quo and asking why things are the way they are.

3. Millennials glorify the hookup culture.

Thanks to new peer-to-peer applications such as Tinder, Millennials are known as a sex-driven generation that epitomizes the hookup culture.

However, Millennials have a tendency to bond over multiple interests and like to ‘e-meet’ others. The internet allows them to connect with people who show similar interests and even dislikes from all around the world.

More than 80 percent of Millennials have compared their opinions and tastes with their network. When their comparison score was 75 or greater, they were more likely to connect and bond.

Steve Dobron, a Tinder user said, “I would say there is general confusion on what Tinder actually is ‘supposed’ to be used for. I, personally, like using Tinder to meet similar people with common interests to make any sort of connection, whether it be friendship or something more. I feel it is just another mechanism to meet new people that you otherwise would not have ever been able to connect with.”

Technology doesn’t make Millennials any less social. It allows them to connect with new people in nontraditional ways.

4. Millennials are selfish and don’t give back.

Millennials aren’t as self-absorbed and narcissistic as the media makes them out to be. Nor are they focused on taking selfies and obsessed with appearances.

On the contrary, many Millennials like to show their altruistic and compassionate side. They like to get involved in causes, donate to their favorite charity, recycle, carpool, or take care of a sick family member.

Generation Y shows a lot of interest in social entrepreneurship. They care where their products are coming from and how they were made. They want to understand the stories behind companies and tend to ask “why” much more than previous generations. The internet gives Millennials more tools and access to the truth.

They are more interested in collaboration than in helping big corporations. They focus on helping people around them. With the growth of applications like Couchsurfing and Uber, Millennials are driving the sharing economy.

5. Millennials don’t value family.

Many people believe Millennials don’t respect their elders or value spending time with family. That seems to be a misconception.

Thirty-six percent of the digital natives on Chakraborty’s platform have uploaded, or shared their opinions on, photos of their kids, parents, and pets. Millennials have expressed strong interest and opinions about spending quality time with their family.

According to a survey by CIRP, raising a family is one of the top essential life objectives for Millennials. They show even more interest than their parents’ generation.

6. Millennials are all the same.

According to popular belief, Millennials are all alike. They are all tech-obsessed, driven by money, and have limited interests outside of their narrow sphere of existence.

That is clearly not the case.

According to the opinions uploaded and swiped, 80 percent of Exacly.me’s Millennial users have varied interests and opinions. They want to represent their authentic self to the world, and they are more likely to express their opinions freely.

Changes are hard to accept. We need to unlearn old concepts and look at Millennials from a fresh point of view.

Gen Y lives in a different world compared with previous generations. Technology gives them access to more information and allows for them to connect with a larger network. Millennials are more willing to share their positive and negative opinions and be the change they want to see.

With that kind of data, we can better understand, and maintain conversations with, our Millennial counterparts, not just in the workplace but in the digital sphere as well.

Have there been any misconceptions about Millennials that you personally have experienced being shattered? I’d love to hear more. Comment below.

Originally posted on Inc.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.

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