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Millennials Usher a Post-Digital Era: Theorizing how Generation Y Engages with Digital Media

Mediated Millennials

ISBN: 978-1-83909-078-3, eISBN: 978-1-83909-077-6

Publication date: 11 November 2019


Dubbed as the “first digital generation,” the millennials (or Generation Y) have been ensconced in digital technologies throughout their lives. As a demographic cohort, the eldest members of Generation Y were the first to reach adulthood by 2001, which heralded the third millennium, and were, therefore, called the millennials.

This research study theorizes that the millennials are ushering an emerging post-digital era that is redefining how we live, work, and play. By situating media consumption within a cross-disciplinary context of mediated engagement, this study analyzed how millennials consume media based on a 2019 meta-analytical research analysis of 22 cross-disciplinary studies, published between 2015 and 2019.

This research study analyzes how millennials curate and engage with digital media and information content in the midst of incessant evolutions of their identity, media use, and digital life. This study explicates six theoretical insights into how millennials consume information and engage with media. In their pursuit of easy access to media, the millennials get most of their information and media content from social media.

In theorizing how millennials engage with digital media, this study explicates important conceptual trends such as incidental news exposure (INE), which refers to people stumbling upon news stories they otherwise would not have purposefully seen or sought. INE spawns “bumpers” who involuntarily bump into news items, as opposed to “seekers” who actively search or seek news content. This leads to the news-finds-me mindset among some passive news consumers who rely and expect other active news consumers to share important news and information.




The author gratefully acknowledges his debt to Dr. Laura Robinson and Dr. Jeremy Schulz for leading this Emerald Studies in Media and Communications volume and thanks six anonymous reviewers and Mr. Chris M. Gentilviso and Dr. Jay Aikat for their critiques to this research project. The author also thanks Ms. Divya Aikat and Mr. Vikram Aikat for research feedback and theoretical insights that enhanced this study.


Aikat, D. (2019), "Millennials Usher a Post-Digital Era: Theorizing how Generation Y Engages with Digital Media", Schulz, J., Robinson, L., Khilnani, A., Baldwin, J., Pait, H., Williams, A.A., Davis, J. and Ignatow, G. (Ed.) Mediated Millennials (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 9-29.



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