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Aug 1, 2008

'Generation V' Defies Traditional Demographics

The New Internet Roles with Social Media

'Generation V' Defies Traditional Demographics

The online behavior, attitudes and interests of people from all walks of life are blending together online, cutting across generations and traditional demographics and giving rise to a new online group called “Generation Virtual” (Generation V), according to research by Gartner, which coined the term.

Unlike previous generations, Generation V is not defined by age, gender, social class or geography. Instead, it is based on achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights.

Marketers will ultimately need a separate marketing strategy to reach this generation, according to Gartner.

Within the Generation V community, Gartner defines four levels of engagement - creators, contributors, opportunists, and lurkers - related to the extent to which customers engage with other customers and the level of engagement that businesses and other organizations must have to enable them:


Findings about these Generation V segments:

  • Up to 3% will be creators, providing original content. They can be advocates that promote products and services.
  • Between 3% and 10% will be contributors who add to the conversation, but don’t initiate it. They can recommend products and services as customers move through a buying process, looking for purchasing advice.
  • Between 10% and 20% will be opportunists, who can further contributions regarding purchasing decisions. Opportunists can add value to a conversation that’s taking place while walking through a considered purchase.
  • Approximately 80% will be lurkers, essentially spectators, who reap the rewards of online community input but absorb only what is being communicated. They can still implicitly contribute and indirectly validate value from the rest of the community. All users start out as lurkers...

More than Half of US Adults Text, Blog, Otherwise Use Social Media

More than 50% of US adults are using text messaging, blogging and other types of social media to regularly communicate with others, according to MediaPost, which reported results from the latest wave of Universal McCann’s large-scale “Media in Mind” tracking study.

For those 18-34 years old, the reigning form of personal communication is social media, which 85% of those in this age group say they use to connect with people they know.

Below, additional findings from the survey.

Older tech, such as email and instant messaging, are also still replacing analog communications:

  • 22% of all American adults say they rely on instant messaging, up from 9% in 2007.
  • 21% of adults age 18-34 rely on instant messaging, up from 14% in 2007.

Mobile media is becoming a dominant force as well, as evidenced by the pervasive use of texting:

  • Only 41% of US adults say they’ve never sent a text message, down 8% from a year ago.
  • Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the proportion of those who have never sent a text message has fallen to 22%, a decline of 16% from last year.

Self-publishing online and reading blog content also are growing:

  • 10% of US adults now publish blogs. That number was only 5% last year.
  • Younger Americans publish blogs at twice that rate: Some 20% of US adults age 18-34 publish a blog, up from 10% last year.

About the research: Universal McCann’s Media in Mind study is an annual proprietary survey of 5,000+ adults that analyzes how consumers relate to media and products in their daily lives.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, What Are You Calling "Social Media"?

    In the 18-34 year-old demographic, the numbers of social media users are even higher: 85% of rely on one of the three platforms to stay in touch with others. Of course, the increase in those who are now texting could be pushing these overall numbers up. It seems that more adults are texting than ever before. Those adults who say that they've never sent a text message fell to 41% from 49% last year.

    Says Graeme Hutton, SVP-Director of Consumer Insights: "We're definitely seeing continual shifts. The great unwashed - those people who have never sent a text message - is getting smaller all the time."

    Side Note: Personally, I find the terminology "the great unwashed (masses)" a little demeaning. The fact is that those at the lower end of the technology-use spectrum don't use things like text messaging and the internet as much because they are usually economically disadvantaged - an unfortunate condition that has numerous causes including everything from poor educational resources to lack of job opportunities in their geographic region. Lumping this lower-income group into one "great unwashed" group was an unnecessarily cruel way to address those not participating in the social media revolution.

    That aside, there are still plenty of valuable findings that have surfaced because of this study, including the following new data:

    1 out of 10 U.S. adults now publish blogs (up from 5% last year)
    1 out of 5 18-34-year olds publish blogs (up from 10% last year)
    22% of U.S. adults use IM (up from 9% last year)
    21% of 18-34-year olds use IM (up from 14% last year)


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