Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post by Larkin Grant, a marvelous millennial whom I met on twitter.
Recently, I went to meet a friend at a bar and arrived first. What was my first instinct? Check Facebook and foursquare to see if I knew anyone around. In 2 minutes I was sitting with friends. All because they revealed their location to the world.
As kids, our parents taught us not to share personal information with strangers. So why are millennials now publishing this information?
We share because it has become the norm. Millennials grew up with technology, claiming it as part of our generational identity. While earlier generations bemoan technology’s invasion in everyday life, millennials embrace it, even sleeping with their cell phones. This connection to technology make millennials much more comfortable sharing personal information online, with 69% revealing sexual orientation and 78% revealing relationship status online.
The New Connection
Putting personal information like your location online seems little different than telling your friends in person because the way we communicate has changed and expanded with technology. We are communicating with friends en masse and if the world sees it too, millennials accept that. 91% of millennials make their check-ins public.
This shift allows for accidental meetings, like my Saturday night. Checking in sends an implied invitation to friends everywhere to come out. To a generation that hates to wait, this efficiency is extremely appealing.
This is not to imply that millennials are posting social security numbers online. We walk a fine line with information sharing. We may willingly disclose our relationship status, but if a company asks for our email we will baulk. Unless they offer something in return.
Millennials are rewriting the advertising rules. We want interaction with brands. 43% of millennials have liked more than 20 brands on Facebook. Simply releasing an ad is not good enough. We know that we a valuable demographic, and if companies want information about us, they have to give us something in return: a discount, an exclusive, to make our breach of privacy worth our while. 71% of millennials liked a brand on Facebook just to receive an offer.
Millennials do value privacy, but it is a privacy that looks very different than 50 years ago. We are also willing to give up information for the sake of convenience and social connections.
Larkin is the Community Manager for Our Valley Events. Larkin’s passion is for all things technology, changing the world, and cupcakes. She is very involved in the young professional scene, both locally and nationally. Locally, Larkin served as the Hospitality Chair on the Huntsville Young Professionals board of directors and is a recent graduate of Connect Young Professionals. Nationally, she recently co-founded Millennial Chat, a forum for young professionals across the nation that hosts weekly Twitter Chats on a range of topics as well as a blog written by Larkin and her co-founders. You can read her blog here.