Mediated Millennials: Volume 19

Cover of Mediated Millennials

Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xvii
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Part I: Millennials and Media

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Abstract

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.

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Part II: The Millennial Social Self

Abstract

Usage patterns of mobile phones in Israel position them as instruments of great importance and as everyday, multipurpose, and interpersonal devices. This study utilizes a critical perspective of the “uses and gratifications” approach to explore the usage of and gratification sought from smartphone usage of millennials. Sixty personal in-depth interviews were conducted during 2013 with millennials (undergraduate students) with the primary goal of exploring millennials’ perceptions of smartphone usages, as well as their personal experiences with smartphones and the role of smartphones in their lives. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze students’ reflections on the roles of smartphones in their lives. Participants have expressed a great bonding with their smartphone and relationships that can be described in term of "love and hate.” The thematic analysis highlighted the addictive elements of using their smartphone, that is, using it more frequently and under undesired circumstances than one would like to, and even becoming anxious about losing the device or even getting too far away from it. Other leading themes included the influence of external pressures to use smartphones, the varied usefulness that smartphones serve in participants’ lives, and a strong sense of "Fear of missing out" as an explanation for their extensive use of their smartphones. The findings of this chapter indicate that smartphones have become an indispensable medium among young adults, used due to practical, as well as to emotional reasons; inner, as well as external impulses.

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Abstract

This study traces the boundaries of online-based social networks and its possible extensions and intersections with offline social networks. It focuses on the massive multiplayer online (MMO) gaming community. Most online gaming research has only addressed one side of the equation, that is, the online aspect of social interaction, omitting the offline context. The primary objective is to look at both offline and online social contexts of gamers. The data analyzed here are part of a bigger research project. Using a sample of 242 respondents and a total of 1,452 social ties (three online and three offline) this work addresses the differences and similarities between online gamer’s offline and online networks. Around 72% of the participants were between the ages of 18 and 37. This group provides insight into the management of social interactions and ties in the digital age among millennials and the coming-of-age of Generation Z. The analysis suggests that overall offline ties are slightly more important than online. Still, this does not imply that online ties are not meaningful at all. The length of their online relationships plays a significant role in how participants qualify their ties. Most participants that had not met face-to-face were willing to meet their online ties. They also reported sharing personal and everyday life matters with their online social network at a lower rate of their offline network. Time spent with online relationships stemming from online gaming and a cooperative environment is more likely to be considered higher quality time. This suggests that in MMOs the gap between online and offline relationships is becoming narrower.

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Abstract

The goal of this chapter was to provide an insight into rules and norms behind generation Y social media presence and inform future research through an exploration of the norms underpinning digitally mediated interaction and behavior among college-age students in Ireland.

The authors administered a questionnaire containing both closed- and open-ended questions among 131 first-year college students in Ireland, asking them to identify online behaviors and actions with a purpose of recognizing rules and norms that guided how they handled sharing, interaction, and mediated aspects of relationships in their use of mobile devices and social media platforms.

This study reveals that the driving force is the desire for and implementation of what can be called the norm of “Do No Harm Lest Others Do Harm to You.” This norm, rather than being driven by the Hippocratic Code of principled awareness is an expression of an acute consciousness of audience segregation and the need for self-protection in online interaction. The respondents were asked about the rules and norms that guided how they handled sharing, interaction, and mediated aspects of relationships in their use of mobile devices and social media platforms. Their responses demonstrated that millennials, in their everyday and intensive use of digitally mediated technologies, have begun to observe a new social contract of “Do No Harm Lest Others Do Harm to You” where internet becomes a space of entertainment and private messaging devoid of conflict and exchanges of opinion with others. Millennials seem to be closing down the scope of online interaction which in the long run can limit the function of internet as a social sphere where various issues, including political views, are exchanged and discussed.

The research is exploratory in nature and relied up on a relatively small sample size. For this reason, while the study produces new analytic frameworks, the findings could not be generalized. Additionally, there are certain features that appear to be specifically Irish such as a blurred line between perception of bullying and harmless having the “craic.”

This research makes explicit the harm mitigation and conflict avoidance strategies underpinning the use of social and digital media as it has been deployed and shaped by Irish millennials and discusses the consequences of their reluctance to engage in the public realm of the internet.

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Part III: Visual Culture and Creation of the Self

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Since its launch in 2005, YouTube has provided a unique platform for users worldwide to share and engage with content, leading to a rise in user-generated content (UGC), especially among youth. One of the most prevalent, yet under-explored, subgenres of UGC is the user-generated music video, where users integrate music and images with an element of performance or narrative; the current research deploys longitudinal analysis to describe the trends in youth-created music videos and how these trends have evolved in the early years of YouTube. Using a sample of 100 youth-created user-generated music videos uploaded to YouTube in 2007 and 2013, the authors investigate trends in production strategies, narrative content, and demographics. Compared to videos posted in 2007, youth-created music videos posted in 2013 featured more complicated editing techniques, less linear narratives, younger actors, more women, and were more likely to celebrate the self, mimicking the recent emergence of “selfie culture.” These findings are discussed with respect to YouTube’s role in reducing barriers to entry and providing a virtual space for youth-oriented content communities that thrive on engagement and social networking as strategies of identity development.

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With the ubiquitous spread of the Selfie as a central feature of millennial digital practices, this article examines the impact of digital media on the traditional uses of the snapshot as a record of private life, particularly in terms of the family and circles of friends. It argues that the affordances of digital photography and social media lead to a transformation of the snapshot into the Selfie. The Selfie as a kind of performance impacts the social practices of family photography in a variety of ways. Some positive, in that the affordances of digital photography put the opportunity for the public circulation of self-selected Kodak “moments” which show the individual in the best possible light; and some negative since the new emphasis on the body as a vehicle of self-expression sustains a tournament based on appearances. The resultant shift from notions of the gift economy implicit in practices of family photography leads to the personal snapshot becoming a proto-commodity form in which the competitive logic of Celebrity culture pervades the social exchange of the photograph. The chapter closes with consideration of the importance of the Selfie across the life course and the logic of self-impression management as a digital performance.

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Part IV: Millennials, News, and the Digital Public Sphere

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President Obama embraced social media and remains one of the most followed persons on Twitter. The focus of this study is twofold: to assess how the President’s use of Twitter affected (a) Millennials’ perception of Obama and (b) Millennials’ interest and likelihood to participate in the political process. Study findings provide support for a model derived from information processing theory. Results also suggest that message orientation (or perceived favorability) predicted source credibility, which stems from message content as well as the Twitter medium by which the message was delivered. Implications for study findings – including optimal strategies for cultivating a social media presence – are discussed.

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The post-millennial or Generation Z constitutes people born in 1997 or after. This study theorizes how news consumption habits of the post-millennial generation are reshaping the news. As the newest generation of media users, Generation Z or the post-millennials, comprising people born in 1997 or after, will inherit the millennial legacy. Generation Z has embraced the visual, verbal, and viral aspects of digital and social media platforms. They rarely engage with traditional news sources, which they deem as nearly extinct.

Based on 2019 meta-analytical research review of 16 key studies (published between 2017 and 2019) of media consumption habits of post-millennials, this research study delineates news consumption habits of post-millennials. It theorizes how this new generation of media users are embracing the visual, verbal, and viral media to reshape news content. The propensity of the post-millennials to participate in the news cycle shapes their rapidly changing preferences and usage patterns.

Over the years, news consumption has varied among different age groups. Newspapers and television were popular with the Silent generation, comprising people born between 1928 and 1945. The Internet significantly transformed media use among baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, and Generation X, which constitutes people born between 1965 and 1980. The rise of social media has significantly transformed media use of millennials or Generation Y, born between 1981 and 1996. They were the first generation to come of age in the new millennium.

Unlike Generation X and boomers, the post-millennials or Generation Z sparsely engage with traditional news sources they deem as nearly extinct, including print media such as newspapers and magazines. They rarely watch television news or listen to radio. They report different news values with less concern about accuracy and more attention toward entertainment and interaction.

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Part V: Poverty and the Shadow of Utopian Internet Theory: Insights from Interviews with Unemployed Internet Users Living Below the Poverty Line

Abstract

This research draws on qualitative interviews with primarily lower socioeconomic status (SES) public library internet users to illuminate their perceptions of economic benefits afforded by the internet. This powerful evidence challenges utopian new technological theories. The results from this study allow for the comparison of perspectives from Millennials, Generation Xers, Boomers, and the Silent generation. These results suggest a disconnect between the cultural mythology around the internet as an all-powerful tool and the lived experiences of lower SES respondents. Lower SES participants primarily use the internet to train and educate themselves in areas where they would like to work in the process of applying for jobs using the internet. Participants recognized marginal benefits such as socialization and less burdensome job application processes. However, they struggled to identify significant job-related benefits when comparing applying for jobs online as opposed to applying for jobs in person. With the exception of millennials, all generational groups believed in the economic promise of the internet to make their lives easier given enough time. Millennials, however, challenged the techno-utopianism expressed by other generations. Only millennials recognized the realities of digital inequalities that make techno-utopian outcomes unattainable given broader economic realities for low-SES individuals.

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Abstract

Brazil has one of the largest millennial populations in the world and offers a key case study of an important slice of time: the adolescence of millennials in the 2000s. This case study offers important insight into a unique Brazilian dynamic, the LAN house phenomenon: a Brazilian solution to spreading digital technologies to the economically disadvantaged. This chapter explores the social roles and functions LAN houses played to the Brazilian youth, ages 12–15, in the 2000s, when they were first introduced in Brazil. Three research questions guided this investigation.

RQ1. What were the main uses and gratifications of LAN house use among the youth in Brazil in the early 2000s?

RQ2. What was the social construction of “Internet” and “LAN house” among the Brazilian user of LAN houses and its potential to foster advancement?

RQ3. What key roles do LAN houses play today?

RQ1. What were the main uses and gratifications of LAN house use among the youth in Brazil in the early 2000s?

RQ2. What was the social construction of “Internet” and “LAN house” among the Brazilian user of LAN houses and its potential to foster advancement?

RQ3. What key roles do LAN houses play today?

Two distinct methods of the study were employed: a survey and textual analysis. The results showed that Brazilian youth used the LAN houses to check Orkut (a social network site), e-mails and the Microsoft System Network (MSN chat), download music and play games. The internet was mostly perceived to have a negative influence, have bad content and serve as a distraction. With the changes in telecommunication and mobile use, the LAN houses have diversified their services, still offering opportunities for gaming and socialization, but also catering to older and working class by providing services such as government document digitalization and preparation. This case study has implications or the introduction of digital technologies to adolescent populations in the growing economies and developing nations.

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Index

Pages 219-229
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Cover of Mediated Millennials
DOI
10.1108/S2050-2060201919
Publication date
2019-11-11
Book series
Studies in Media and Communications
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-83909-078-3
Book series ISSN
2050-2060