Naming the Next Generation Speaker Q&A: Neil Howe

On June 26th Ypulse will be Naming the Next Generation.* Neil Howe, author, historian and generational guru, will be joining us in our quest to find a name for post-Millennials that fits their unique generational experience. Neil has been a pioneer in generational theory, writing nine books on American generations.  Along with William Strauss, he first coined the term “Millennials,” describing this generation with remarkable foresight as far back as 1991. We can think of no one better to help us to name the next generation, in fact, we wouldn't have dreamed of trying without Neil's help. Today Neil tells us about why we need to move away from the term “Gen Z,” how post-Millennials will be the oldest group to not recall a time before the Great Recession, and how this generation could be like Millennials ... on steroids.
 
*Register to attend Naming the Next Generation, and you can give your own suggestions on what the next generation should be named here!
 
Ypulse: What do you think is the biggest difference between Millennials and post-Millennials?
Neil Howe: I think it’s important to establish what we mean when referring to “Millennials” and “post-Millennials.” My definition for “post-Millennials” includes those born after 2004, so these are kids currently just entering grade 2 of elementary school. Yes, that date remains tentative. You can’t be sure where history will someday draw a cohort dividing line until a generation fully comes of age into adulthood. But since there are good reasons why social generations tend to be 20 or so years long, I am naturally suspicious of a definition that abruptly limits Millennials to only 10 or 15 birth years.
 
Right now, the biggest difference is the emphasis on socialization, pushed on them largely by their Gen-X parents and teachers.…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “One of my top concerns as a parent will be maintaining cultural traditions and language in the face of a new generation and stifling white media/social space.” –Female, 18, CA

Amazon is buying live video gaming platform Twitch for $970 million. Twitch has become amazingly popular with young consumers. Though many members of older generations might not understand the appeal of watching other players game live, more than 55 million unique visitors watched more than 15billion minutes of content on Twitch in July alone. The deal gives Twitch even more potential for growth, and shows that becoming a streaming content leader is a major goal for Amazon. (Streamdaily)

What has contributed to the massive drop in teen birth rates? Teen pregnancy has decreased much more quickly between 2007 and 2013 than it did 20 years ago, but the decline “has proved difficult to explain.” Theories include expected hypotheses like teens using contraceptives more, to more offbeat concepts like TV series Teen Mom acting as a deterrent. The availability of Plan B, better access to information on the internet, and even a theory that links changes in gasoline to reductions in teen pregnancy are also being discussed. (Vox)

The amount of time that young consumers spend on their phones and computers has led to plenty of concern that they won’t be able to interact face-to-face, and one study has found support for the fear. Tweens who spent five days at an unplugged outdoor camp with no tech time were able to understand emotions better than peers who stayed on their “usual media diet,” which indicates that screen time may be hampering kids’ ability to recognize nonverbal cues and facial emotions. (Newsweek)

McDonald’s Millennial challenge is no secret. Consumers in their 20s and 30s are flocking to fast-casual eateries like Chipotle and Five Guys, and their preferences are dictating the future of fast food. In the U.S., McDonald’s sales have been “flat or falling” for the majority of the last year, and consumers ages 19 to 21 who visit the chain monthly have fallen 12.9% since 2011. Young consumers’ desire for fresh ingredients and higher quality, customized meals is hurting the brand, and their attempts to lure Millennials with new menu items and social and mobile marketing is not yet changing their minds. (WSJ)

The Burning Man festival might be delayed thanks to major rain, but once it gets rolling it will provide a peek into the Millennial mindset. Fun, discovery, and community are the core principles of the event, and three themes that majorly resonate with the generation. Marketing and content that tap into one or more of these values, and allow young consumers to feel connected, creative, and surprised are likely to be successful with them. (Fast Company)

Wish you could ask Millennials what they think, right now? Ypulse's Instant Poll tool allows you to submit a question to our mobile social community of 2 million 13-34-year-old Millennials and get a quick, gut-check quantified response back in minutes. Our Bronze, Silver, and Gold subscribers use Instant Polls for brainstorming, quick-checks on brand perception, and more. Simply type in your question and click “Ask.” You’ll have directional, informative results without the overhead and wait time of a traditional study. (Ypulse)

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