Google+ and millennial Darwinism

By Matt Cowan

Sometimes, it’s nice to have friends in high places. And by high places, I mean one of the first people to get Google+ and be able to give out invites. So when my friend told me that she could invite me to the brand new social network, I jumped at the chance to become a member of what was, at the time, a rather exclusive club.

Millennials are, for the most part, early adopters. We’re the ones who build the bandwagon that everyone eventually jumps on when it comes to new technologies or developments. We’re the ones who bought smartphones first, who tweeted first, and now are +1ing first. “Trendsetters” might be too big a word, but we are leading the tech revolution, like it or not.

If you don’t believe me, just think about how many millennials have smartphones. I can count the number of friends I have who don’t have iPhones or Androids with one hand. And look at social networks. I can’t even name a single person I know who isn’t on Facebook. Social networks were aimed at millennials, and we’ve since helped them ride to the top of the business world.

I’m not sure why we need all these different avenues for social networking and interaction: Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, Twitter, and now Google+, but we don’t like being left out of the loop. There’s been a constant evolution of social interaction and technology over the last few decades, and this is where it’s led us: a multitude of chances to interact and socialize with our fellow millennials.

Google+ is the latest example of this. Google is arguably the biggest internet-based company, and because of the popularity of social networks, the two naturally combined, and thus Google+ was born. Also speaking to the popularity of social networks is the fact that Google+ is fastest growing one ever, gaining over 10 million users in a few short weeks since its inception.

But why are things like smartphones and social networks so popular with millennials? I believe the answer lies in the fact that we expect advancements in these fields to be made, or that they seem normal. We were raised in the Internet age, and as a result, we see social networks as the next step in instant, online communication and socialization.

And cellphones? First came the letter, then the telegraph, then the landline phone, then those brick cellphones, then slightly smaller cellphones, then cellphones that could text, then cellphones that could connect to the internet in a limited capacity, and now cellphones are essentially computers that can fit in your pocket. Those last few stages all occurred during the last ten to fifteen years, blindingly fast compared to the developments of the first few stages.

That’s the evolution I was talking about. We’ve come to expect advancements to be made because that’s the world we’ve grown up in. Our parents (at least mine) are constantly amazed by what technology can do nowadays. I’m not. But they weren’t raised in the same environment. The amount of advancement we’ve made in the last 20 years dwarfs that of the last 50 years prior. I don’t always know what’s around the corner, but when it comes, I don’t say, “Wow!” as my parents are likely to do, I say, “Ah, of course.”


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