Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Class of 2016

Beloit College, a liberal arts college in Wisconsin, every year assembles a “Mindset List” to give its school community a “snapshot of how the incoming freshmen class views the world.”  It’s been reported that this list helps administrators and instructors at the college to better understand the students and ultimately better connect with them to more effectively educate.

Today, the news media has picked the list up.  Here are a few of items from the list that caught my attention:

·         “Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1994.”
·         “They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of ‘electronic narcotics.”
·         “If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.”
·         “Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.”
·         “On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of dumb and umber males.”
·         “For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.”
·         “A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.”
·         “They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.”
·         “Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.”

There were others, but I thought these were interesting in the context of communication and provided just enough insight for communicators with regard to the next generation.  So what other items might we add from a communications standpoint?

I’d offer these for your consideration:

·         Fax technology was fading fast on the day they were born.
·         Email technology was fast becoming the business norm on the day they were born.
·         By the time this group entered middle school, most had cell phones.
·         The vast majority never got into the habit of physically reading a daily newspaper and probably never will.
·         They were approximately seven years old on 9/11/01.
·         More people from this generation come from divorced, single-parent households.
·         America has been at war most of their lives.
·         Companies they likely know and respect include Apple, Google and Nike.
·         Companies they likely do not have any ready, detailed knowledge of include General Electric and J.P. Morgan Chase.
·         Social media is their media of choice.
·         If the question is, “Call or text?,” the answer is text.

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