Generation Y is changing the way we work. Their ability to engage with multiple streams of communication, tools and websites and ably deal with the fire hose of information flooding at them will define our future working patterns. Generation Y thinks email is passé and tends not to use it. Generation Y graduates are moving into fast track management. They will be the next leaders of business and industry. Their current ways of working will become the new way of working for the baby boomer generation and Generation Xéwhether they like it or not.

Different online networking sites tend to be populated by different age groups. Teenagers and young adults tend to focus their attention on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and Piczo. Adults of all ages now use Facebook for social and business purposes. The largest growth sector on Facebook is currently women in the 55–65 age range. Teenagers use these types of sites to network and form social groups with those in their peer group.18 They join subgroups and share information among their friends.


  • Teenagers heavily customise their online profile as it is an easy way for them to express themselves.

  • They update their profile and modify their status and other information regularly. They do this as an extension of their personality in much the same way as they will customise their bedroom.

  • Their profile names are adorned with non-alphanumeric characters.

  • They have mashups of media associated with their profile and the text in the ‘about me‘ section changes frequently.

  • Teenagers’ online profiles are used as an extension of their status updates and their online identities.

This is a completely different form the way Generation X and older people use their profiles on these types of sites.

But why is this important in business? It’s important to have a good understanding of how Generation Y and Z behave on social networking sites, and how they use their profiles, mobility and connections to live their digital life. Knowing these behaviour patterns gives you a great opportunity to effectively tune your social media architecture so that you can attract the correct audience to the right place. If your product sells to the young, then marketing your product in a way that is attractive to the young will give you credibility in their world and a positive return on your sales and marketing investment.

Have you considered your community and digital online conversation strategy at your company? Have you thought about how you can use social media to bring marketing by your community of friends into your customer and partner marketing campaigns today? Do you consider this strand of conversational marketing important at all? Are you looking at your competitors and watching how they are using online community tools to gain advantages over you? Do you currently have a two-way, push—pull marketing strategy or do you plan to promote your brand using the voice of the community talking about you and creating user generated content on your behalf?