Give them a say
The cheeky confidence Shana and her friends project comes as no surprise to Diane Lynch, Dean of the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. Lynch is researching the way Millennials use personal technology as a natural means of self-expression. “There is an assumption that I can make anything I want [with technology], express anything I want and that my ideas are as good as anyone else’s,” she says. “Isn’t that amazing? They interact online on what they believe is a level playing field. We used to talk about the authority of knowledge, but they have something I call the ‘authority of practice,’ and there’s a cultural shift because of it.”
Lynch says because the Millennial generation adopted technology at the same time as older consumers, their experience with all sorts of gadgets has empowered them. They often assume they know more about consumer electronics than their parents or other adults (even salespeople). That means they are more inclined to trust each other’s advice about brands and models than to be swayed by advertising or sales pitches. When Chris felt like it was time to trade up his cell phone for some more advanced features, he surveyed his own friends and found out which service they liked the most. It was their advice that led him to Verizon, the carrier which now has an extensive music/video streaming service called V-Cast.