What a Difference a Decade Makes!

August 21, 2012

On Wednesday last week, thousands of Irish teenagers received their leaving certificate results.   Every year when I hear that the results are out, I think back to when it was my turn.  (That sounds incredibly nostalgic,but it was actually less than ten years ago!)

This year, instead of remembering the knot in my stomach, the tears with friends or the questionable fashion, I thought of how different their experience was to mine.

The students of today live in a world of constant and immediate connectivity.  You only have to look around a crowded Luas in the morning to see them all huddled over their smartphones, barely making eye contact with those around.  Being Facebook ‘friends’ with a number of my younger cousins, I’m constantly surprised and sometimes shocked by the content that they deem to be sharable!  But that’s just it; they share everything.  And frankly, if they’re not telling you what they had for breakfast, where they were ten minutes ago and what terrible things will happen if you don’t share their cursed posts, you might wonder if all is OK!

Their teenage years are so different in many ways to mine, and the day they opened their results was equally as contrasting.  While my Mum was putting me on the phone to relatives for weeks afterwards, they updated their status and everyone knew.  While I was sitting down showing friends the photos after we had them developed, they shared a photo with everyone on Instagram.  While I was fumbling with a calculator, paper and pen, they punched their results into a point-generating App.

Life has just been made so much more instantaneous for today’s youth, and it’s something that we’re constantly reminded of when researching this audience.  They’re much more in control of their media consumption, including the ‘who, what, where and when’! For advertisers looking to make meaningful connections with them, it’s important to take a second and really immerse yourself in their world.  Believe me, it’s a completely different one to the one you and I know!!

-Susan

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