I just started subscribing to the Monday Note, a weekly e-mail newsletter about media and tech business. The first note in my inbox was about me. Or at least people like me, the “digital natives” between 18 and 24 who have more or less grown up online.
A French survey presents our habits. One of the key findings is that we are “constant gamers”, modeling our real-life interactions on computer games. We don’t trust brands, and see them as the enemy to defeat as we use all available tools to find the best deals online. Some brands, including Apple of course, “have gained access to a unique status of blind trustfulness”, but overall we have little respect for authority.
“It mainly results from a generation gap in which management is still in the hands of people who don’t have a clue on how Digital Natives think”, says Edouard Le Marechal, who engineered the survey.
If he means “management is still in the hands of people who rely on surveys to understand how people in their early twenties work”, then he is certainly correct.
Here are a few more interesting descriptions of my age group, quoted from Frédéric Filloux, who writes The Monday Note:
- The Digital Native has a problem with authority, but he respects competence.
- Even if they harbor little hope of doing better than their parents, they don’t see themselves as unhappy.
- The Digital Native does not rely on a single group but on several, each with a different degree of trust. The three concentric circles are : close friends and family as the core, a group of 20 to 30 pals whom they trust, and the “Facebook friends” of 200 or so, which acts as an echo chamber.
- The group (…) will organize the importance, the hierarchy of news elements, it will set the news cycle’s pace.
- Wikipedia: because it is crowd-powered and carries an image of neutrality, it is embraced as trustworthy.
This isn’t a survey I would focus on too much – it’s just about a hundred or so French kids – but I can identify with the findings I’ve quoted above. I know many of my friends don’t trust “the media”, by which they mean major newspapers, but look to Facebook and Wikipedia for information and news about what’s really going on. I would switch “Facebook friends of 200 or so” to “Twitter feeds of 600 or so” as my third level group, but I appreciate that someone is finally acknowledging that (duh!) we do know the difference between best friends and friends on Facebook.
- For Norwegian readers, a related post: Generasjon Facebook – endelig en bok om meg
Image via nongenderous