Information Technologies

The Impact of Social Networks on Millennials and Other Generations

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Categorizing people is not an easy task, given the peculiarities and nontransferable traits of each individual. There are only specific people living in a particular era. Thus, when we refer to generations, we fall back on a generalization aimed at reflecting what specific individuals born during the same period have in common. This helps to group them since, as José Ortega y Gasset stated, "we're molded by the times in which we live," especially during childhood and adolescence. While generalizations necessarily lack precise detail, they do help humans to think and communicate or, rather, better understand our nature. The millennial generation encompasses individuals born between 1980 and 2000. They currently represent 32.8% of the world population, which translates to 2 billion people. Of these, 51 million live in Europe and 8 million in Spain. In 2025, millennials will constitute 75% of the world's workforce. Within this generation, it is possible to distinguish between senior and junior millennials. From observing how millennials use social networks, it becomes clear that they are moving progressively further away from those used by Generation X, to which their parents belong to a great extent, in preference for different ones. This makes Instagram, rather than Facebook or Twitter, the best way to reach millennials. Facebook is slowly losing users and connection time to newer social networks. Millennials tend to use networks with a greater focus on audiovisual content that can be edited and modified to their liking so they can transmit the messages or images that best suit their purposes. They scrupulously avoid social networks that limit their behavior or restrict their interactions with others, as well as those that limit the level of privacy they wish to set for their publications.
Bibliographic citation: Mesa Herrera, Rafael; Stein, Guido; Martín, Miguel, "The Impact of Social Networks on Millennials and Other Generations", IESE, DPON-142-E, 04/2018
Date: 10/04/2018
Author(s): Mesa Herrera, Rafael; Stein, Guido; Martín, Miguel
Document type: Technical Note
Department: Managing People in Organizations
Languages: Spanish / English

Learning objective This case serves as an interesting supplement to discussions of other cases about millennials, whether dealing with marketing, strategy, leadership or other topics.