Creating Social Change With A Click

Teens OnlineIf you ever thought Millennials were lazy, think again! They’re globally connected, thanks to social media, and have more resources than ever to make a difference. It’s what “making a difference” actually means to these consumers that needs to be understood.

Digital natives are using technology as a tool to have their voices heard, and to inspire change. From creating online campaigns about causes they believe in to taking political action via social media, they’re shaping culture and proving their power as future leaders.

Gen Y grew up being praised and told that they could do anything. This confidence has its benefits in making them feel empowered and inspired to share their voice. Yes, they're less likely to write letters or organize in-person protests, but they’re changing the system for contemporary culture. A trend we’re seeing in teens is they’re drawing on the power of their peers online to make a larger impact.

Recently, 13-year-old McKenna Pope created a petition on Change.org, expressing her frustration that Easy-Bake oven isn’t marketed to males. She was upset about the message this sends to kids if the toy comes only in pink and purple and features only females on the packaging. In highlighting the importance of this issue, McKenna inspired 40,000 others, including celebrity chefs, to sign her petition. Ultimately, Hasbro invited her to its office and unveiled plans for a black-and-silver Easy-Bake oven, which will launch later this year. But McKenna isn’t alone. She represents a growing number of teens and twentysomethings who are using the Web, and social media in particular, as a platform for good.

Last year, three teens from New Jersey created two petitions on Change.org, asking for the Commission on Presidential Debates to select a female moderator…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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