By Serene Goh
I love millennials. I am not one, but as a fangirl, I borrow their lens from time to time.
I picked up the habit in my former life, as founding editor driving The Straits Times’ young reader efforts. For 12 years I watched them grow up; I listened to their concerns, gripes, worries. At first, it was all in the name of work. Then I became smitten.
What captivated me was their instinctive exploitation of digital tools. At first, it was just them fiddling with code, chatting on messenger, blogging — to my mind, like witnessing the first hominids use tools. But it didn’t take a genius to know you were watching the evolution of our kind.
They soon set up e-shops to peddle stuff bought on family holidays, and portals to freely share assessment papers (and correct answers). For the past 16 years, millennials have been shattering traditional media models — and advancing them to a new frontier.
They shed the shyness of previous generations, and altered how we propagate messages, opening up constant dialogues between tribes. They engineered a tectonic shift in culture.
Making friends across oceans through gaming became a thing. What started with “cam-whoring” soon became Youtube channels through which they took requests from followers. They spawned this other thing called influencer marketing. They even changed language. What Gen X called rejection, they call “swipe left” or “blue-ticking” — terms bred by the media they used. And if there’s a glimpse of how the future of marketing will look, it’s this:
When they come into their own as next-generation employees, entrepreneurs and eventually, disruptors, they are likely to redefine what they need from their media. Best keep an eye peering through that lens, and be ready to roll with it.
Serene is the Head of Editorial Content at Sweet. She believes in the power of stories and their tellers.