Pew Poll Says Millennials Will Always Be Sharing Information Online
The Facebook Generation. Generation Overshare. These are names for the so-called Millennials because they are known for embracing the connected lifestyle and sharing details — sometimes too much detail — of their lives over the Internet. And according to a Pew Research Center poll, that's not likely to change.
As social networks have become the new social currency, the Millennial generation (age 18-29, also known as Generation Y) have embraced the new lifestyle of open secrets. Many people wonder if it's a fad born of uncertain times and new adults looking for attention.
But the Pew poll confirms that many people think social networking isn't a fad, it's a revolution.
According to Pew Research Center:
Some 67 percent agreed with the statement: "By 2020, members of Generation Y (today's "digital natives") will continue to be ambient broadcasters who disclose a great deal of personal information in order to stay connected and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities. Even as they mature, have families, and take on more significant responsibilities, their enthusiasm for widespread information sharing will carry forward."
Another 29 percent of respondents held the opposite view. While those not of the Millennial Generation like to point out the potential problems with identity theft and tendencies to overshare, the Pew Research Center says that most people can still see the attraction behind it.
"Most of those surveyed noted that the disclosure of personal information online carries many social benefits as people open up to others in order to build friendships, form and find communities, seek help and build their reputations."
That's actually the main reason, in most people's minds, that Millennials will never stop.
Many respondents also pointed out that this new form of socialization will change the way society operates, and probably already has.
"The majority argued in answers to the survey that new social norms that reward disclosure are already in place among the young. The experts also expressed hope that society will be more forgiving of those whose youthful mistakes are on display in social media such as Facebook picture albums or YouTube videos.
Some said new definitions of 'private' and 'public' information are taking shape in networked society. They argued that this means that Millennials might change the kinds of personal information they share as they age, but the aging process will not fundamentally change the incentives to share," the report said.
Keep in mind that the poll isn't exactly a measure of the Millennial mindset. It's actually the result of 895 "technology stakeholders and critics," according to Pew, many of whom are doubtless not part of the Millennial generation.
Still, as these respondents and others have acknowledged, it's hard to think such a major shift in social interaction is suddenly going to disappear just because the Millennials turn 30.