My generation is absorbed in social media. We were old enough to watch and understand the birth of Facebook, the dawn of Twitter, and the fast emergence of Foursquare check-ins. We've become accustomed to frequent status updates and 'mayorships'? of our favorite eateries. We tweet about what we're wearing or when the train is late. In a way we're almost like celebrities, voluntarily exposing ourselves to the people around us and living our lives in a self-proclaimed 'spotlight.'?
There's nothing wrong with letting our friends know we're running late or sharing pictures from last night's party but sometimes we just share a little too much. We announce that we had Frosted Flakes for breakfast or the pains of shaving our legs. We post pictures of friends slumped over chairs after one too many cocktails. We check-in at the dentist, the doctor and the Starbucks on the corner (three times...three Starbucks, three different corners). We over-share some of the most intimate details of our lives leaving little to the imagination.
Maybe as individuals we should tweet a little less and untag a few photos from last night. We don't need the whole world to know our most personal details. As much as we may wish we were celebrities, we aren't and frankly nobody cares about those details we're sure everyone wants to hear.
Certainly in our personal lives this may seem like too much, but what many people (including many of those in my parents' generation) don't know is that this idea of 'over-sharing'? is what keeps many businesses afloat. The younger generation is so overly connected through the use of social media that sometimes this is simply the best and fastest avenue to reach them. I once tweeted to Whole Foods corporate asking why my favorite beverage was removed from store shelves. Rather than write an email or make a phone call, in less than 140 characters I asked my question. Less two hours and 140 characters later I had my answer. The beverage had an ingredient in it that didn't meet their standards.
It's this communication through social media that keeps companies engaged with their customers. They see our problem, 'Ugggg I hate my razor! It irritates my skin!'? and can immediately offer a solution, 'Have you tried our brand? It has a moisture strip for less irritation!'? These channels provide instantaneous conversation between brands and customers 24/7 that are faster than drafting an email and cheaper than buying a print ad. Businesses can see what means the most to their demographic and reach out in unexpected ways.
As a member of Generation Y, I can say that I've enjoyed watching the evolution of marketing and brand management. I've grown up reading print ads and watching TV commercials and now I scan QR codes for 'insider information.'? The way brands reach their customers is changing - I get most of my news from the web and now most of my purchases are influenced by the online presence of a company. While I still think that my generation has to make an adjustment to its tendency to over-share, it is this behavior that has completely revolutionized the way brands do business today.