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A Millennial's Rebuttal to Being Classified as "The Cheapest Generation'?

During the month of October, we're exploring content focused on youth, specifically millennials and the Class of 2016. For our first post, we asked one of our interns, aka a millennial, to provide perspective on how she felt about the Atlantic labeling her a member of the "Cheapest Generation." Read Shandi's rebuttal to this classification below.

'When I was 24 years old, I had a kid, a house, a car, and a job with benefits. You really need to get it together, Shandi. What's wrong with you?'?

I can't even begin to count the amount of times I've had this conversation with my parents. Not only does this not help people my age, it angers us. Does Generation X think that we're happy with what little we, the Millennials, have? Do they think we like being compared to Gen X, who seemingly had it all? We don't own cars ' we rent Zipcars. We don't own houses ' we rent tiny apartments in cities with three or so roommates. Twenty years after James Carville said, 'It's the economy, stupid,'? the phrase still rings true. Generations above us see us as being cheap and not investing in the things they bought at our age. We see it as the only choice we have.

There is a difference in being cheap and being broke. A commenter on The Atlantic points out, 'Cheap is when you have money and refuse to spend it; frugal is when you don't spend the money you don't have.'? We are frugal. We are broke. We have nothing, other than a mountain of debt and maybe a Smartphone (if we can afford it). There is a common occurrence called 'The Lipstick Effect'?, which is when women spend money on beauty products during a recession. The idea is that people will still buy luxury goods in tough times but will buy goods that don't affect their bank account as greatly (i.e. buying lipstick vs. expensive clothing). Smartphones are the Millennials lipstick. Yes, they cost on average $1,700 a year (according to the Wall Street Journal), but that's less than what an average car costs per year ($8,946 according to AAA) or a mortgage payment (averaging $1,000 a month).

When we were growing up, we were told to go to college and we'd get a good job. So we went to college, paid what seemed like a million dollars (hey, it's four times as expensive for a college education now than it was for Gen X), left with tens of thousands of dollars in debt (also ridiculously high when compared to the debt Gen X took out), and all the jobs vanished. On top of all of that, the housing market crashed. We saw our friends and family members get laid off and struggle with months of unemployment. We saw unpaid mortgage payments that led to massive foreclosures throughout the country. And all we could do was cross our fingers and apply to hundreds of jobs that we would never hear back from. If you were a Millennial, would you see buying a car or a house as the most important thing? I doubt it. Trust me, we would LOVE to be able to have those things ' it's just not in the cards right now. We scrape by, doing the best we can.

A generation before us rose up above the Great Depression and fought in World War II. Tom Brokaw called them 'the Greatest Generation.'? The Millennials are entering the worst unemployment rates and economic state since the Great Depression. Our coming of age was defined by the September 11th attacks and we barely remember a time when our country wasn't at war. When the Greatest Generation persevered through their tough times, their frugality and self-determination was encouraged. The Millennials, however, are seen as cheap and entitled. There is no reason we should be viewed

negatively for the same traits that were once celebrated.

We are extremely educated and are already changing the way the world works. Never before has there been a time when a generation has had the ability to communicate the way the Millennials do. We have Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc. at our disposal at all times. We can reach millions of people who have the same wants and desires about their future with the click of a button, a creation of a group on Facebook, or a hashtag on Twitter. Mahatma Gandhi said, 'If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.'? We can band together and create a movement to change the future ' for the better.

Interested in learning more about millennials? Make sure to register for our MITX Future M session on 'How the Class of 2016 Will Change the World of Marketing?'

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In the world of social media, trends, features, and even platforms can seemingly become a phenomenon overnight. One night, you go to bed after scrolling your Instagram feed, and the next morning you wake up to a brand new, intriguing yet unfamiliar app called TikTok. It doesn't take long for this app to surpass all others as the most downloaded app of all time with over 1 billion active users across the world.  Flash forward to the present day where Instagram - and almost every other popular social platform, for that matter - are scrambling to keep up with this new app. So, what makes TikTok so attractive, and can Instagram compete with their look-a-like competitive feature, IG Reels? Well, let’s dive in!    Why is short-form video so popular all of the sudden?  Before we talk about Reels and TikTok, let’s first address why the short-form video nature of both platforms caught on so quickly. For a long while, social media marketers have strategized their content around the fact that the attention span of our followers is short- and we mean short. According to Facebook, marketers only have 0.25 seconds to capture a user’s attention before they keep scrolling.  With that in mind, snackable video content became the name of the game for brands and content creators and opened the door to a scrappier style of content - especially for brands who had typically seen video content as an expensive, high-production-value ordeal.  The lower production value required for a high-performing Reels or TikTok video was key for brands. That, paired with the fact that these platforms became widely popular during a pandemic when creative teams were developing content out of their own homes. Additionally, it opened up a new door for brands and content creators to turn out quick-hit, entertaining content.    What’s the difference between Reels and TikTok?  Now that we’ve covered why short-form video content is so popular across both Reels and TikTok, let’s discuss the key differences between these platforms that have affected how they’ve been adopted by social users.    Reels TikTok The Takeaway The User Experience To navigate to Reels, users must first open the Instagram app, where they will be shown their regular feed from accounts they follow. Then, they will select the Reels icon from the bottom menu to start viewing Reels in a TikTok-esque feed of content that’s been curated for the user by Instagram’s algorithm.  When a user opens the TikTok app, they are immediately shown a curated feed of TikToks the platform’s algorithm has chosen - AKA the “FYP” (for you page). The full screen and vertical swipe feed create a frictionless user experience that makes it as easy as possible to enjoy the app.  TikTok’s unique user experience puts short-form video content curated just for you at the center stage, creating a seamless and simple way to enjoy content. On the other hand, Reels is only a feature of Instagram among many others.  Music & Video Editing Tools Due to copyright concerns, Instagram business accounts only have access to Reels’ library of royalty-free tracks, while content creators have access to a larger library full of popular copyrighted music. While Reels does offer video editing tools, they can be tricky to navigate and their filters and effects are not very extensive.  Music and sound are the cornerstones of a TikTok video, and the app has nailed this feature with its extensive library of music and user-generated sounds available to content creators and brands alike. On top of that, TikTok’s video editing features are user-friendly, and they offer a wide variety of filters and video effects.  TikTok is the clear winner when it comes to music and video editing tools given their extensive music and sound library and editing capabilities.  Platform Purpose   Instagram, home of Reels, is a network-oriented app, where users are used to seeing content from people they are familiar with and have chosen to follow. 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Instagram has also shared that content that is visibly recycled from other apps (e.g. contains a TikTok watermark) will also be deprioritized by the algorithm.  Beyond all of the features listed above, TikTok’s arguably largest advantage is its algorithm. The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, has been very transparent about the large investment they made to design the app’s algorithm that picks up on users' personalized interests in record time, contributing to the effortless and enjoyable nature of consuming content on the app.  Overall, TikTok’s algorithm is the first of its kind and unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the social space, which ultimately contributes to its success. 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To decide which of these platforms to begin focusing your efforts on, ask yourself these two questions:  Which platform is your audience on currently?  Which one can you commit to doing consistently?  While there are many benefits of TikTok as discussed above in our comparison of the two platforms, many brands have already established themselves and have grown a following on Instagram, and therefore beginning to utilize Reels has a low barrier to entry. While cross-posting between the two platforms is an option we’ve seen numerous brands take, a carefully thought out strategy for each channel your brand has a presence on is more important than simply having content out there. When it comes to a brand’s social presence, quality is always preferred over quantity.  The social world is ever-evolving - and at the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which platform is best - the answer is unique to your brand’s priorities and your team’s bandwidth to thoughtfully manage the channels on which your brand appears.