Part 1 of this series explored how different generations talk about media and television, specifically the particular terminology used—but what about the actual consumption of television? Do the older generations watch televisions, middle generations stick to laptops, and younger generations cling to iPads and mobile phones? I use all three, it just depends on the circumstances. Having guests over? Plug the HDMI into my television screen. Home alone? Relax with laptop in lap. Stuck in a waiting room for hours? Snuggle up to Netflix on my iPhone.

I can’t speak for other generations but the reason my generation loves Netflix is simple–freedom of choice. On demand. We can watch whatever we want, we’re not forced to watch something we don’t want to see (a commercial) and it’s all according to our schedule (which is erratic).  It’s for these same exact reasons that we tend not to watch television shows when they actually air.

Certain broadcast programs still lend themselves favorably to real-time viewing. Sporting events and awards shows are “real-life” events that a) often air when we’re likely to be home and b) involve a tremendous amount of social media interaction during the course of the airing.

Technology is improving enough for us to continually funnel out what we don’t like, and pile in what we do–making it harder for marketers and brands to ascertain what exactly will satisfy us as customers–but if we are all eventually consuming media on the web, it’s not all up to Nielsen anymore.

So what does it all mean? I have to say that I think media consumption habits also depend quite a bit on personality–it’s not (nor is anything) strictly generational. I do think that as a whole, American society is become increasingly more demanding and particular about how the media they consume is presented to them and that, over time, providers will have to meet or exceed those demands in order to keep customers.

Before we enter the season of giving, right now we are experiencing the season of gratitude. As we ask ourselves for what we are grateful, we discover things around us that, before now, we never imagined what life would be like without them. As I look back on what I am grateful for, I think about how truly blessed I am to be part of my millennial generation. The timing of our experiences with technology is so lucky. If a child enters the world and plays with an iPad as a toddler, that child may never truly appreciate what a technological feat the device truly is.

I recall my first ever experience with AIM: I was in middle-school, fifth grade to be exact.   Up until this point, the computer had always been a very large, beige-colored, noisy device (I even had my own in my room, but it still ran MS DOS–you know, the black screen with the light green letters) that I used primarily as, well, a gaming system. My sister and I got all kinds of computer games like the Oregon Trail, Nancy Drew, and the Sims and we would spend hours playing on the computer.

Well now my world would be turned upside-down.  A computer would be more to me than just a gaming console. It could connect me to my current friends, my old friends, and anyone, anywhere in the world. My older sister (an AIM veteran at this point in time) showed me how to log on to AOL and type in my friend Chelsea’s screen name. I apprehensively typed “Hey Chelsea. This is Jenny Reineck from school.” Only a few seconds later, her response popped up on my screen, and for as long as I live I will never forget how this moment made me feel: “Hi Jenny! I am so glad you finally have AIM!” My heart leapt.

What glorious magic is this? I can chat with my friends all the time? I don’t have to call their house and risk parents listening in? (Remember kids, we didn’t have cell phones yet.) More importantly, as an introvert, I have time to think about my responses during a conversation?! I honestly believe that at that moment, right there in my dad’s dusty bonus room with my sister leaning over my shoulder, I fell in love with technology.

Every technological feat introduced after that never ceased to amaze me. I will also always remember how I felt when I got my first iPod. When I was in the 7th grade my walkman fit perfectly into the side pocket of my school uniform blazer. Combine that with wiring my ear buds up to my ears and hiding them behind my long hair, and I could listen to CDs during class. Seemed like a nice little hack at first, but imagine how I felt when I got my first iPod. I was late to this party as well, given that my first iPod was a golden Mini. Once I loaded it up with songs (more songs than my walkman could ever dream of playing), I distinctly remember seeing it fit perfectly in the palm of my hand. I held it up, felt the weight and texture, and took a good long minute to really, honestly ask myself “how do they do it?” How do so many songs fit into the palm of my hand? It is truly a masterpiece.

Now we take for granted these technological masterpieces. I know this because I always take for granted the pieces of technology in my life that have always been there—even when I was a small child. My car, for instance, has become something that I expect. I never had to experience what it was like travelling by horse and buggy, or even just walking. I never had to experience what it was like to live without heat, or a proper supply of food and water, and I find feelings of gratitude come naturally when we mentally put ourselves in these situations. Every now and then take a moment this month and imagine. Imagine what it was like before whatever you are using existed, and how is your life better because of it?

1)      You Think We’re Entitled – Sure, they exist. Entitled people of my generation have had everything they need or want handed to them their entire lives, so, as a result, they expect it will always continue to be given to them. Or, even worse, (and this one could be a result of both upbringing and circumstance) they feel society owes it to them. A sense of entitlement is not genetic. It hinges on upbringing. Guess who is responsible for our upbringing? I’m looking at you, baby boomers. Give us the tools we need to succeed, not the success itself on a silver platter. You are too afraid to get tough with us because you think we won’t respond to it. You think we won’t respond to strict directives because…


2)      You Think We’re Cheaters – We are going to use Google. Get over it. We can and we will Google everything that can be Googled. It’s not lazy. It’s not cheating. It’s winning–and more than that it should prove to you that we are thirsty for knowledge. For some reason you think that using Google is “cheating” because we “didn’t have to work for it.” Well guess what? The people who created Google sure as hell had to work for it, and the people who work for Google now are still working for it. And these are the people who are realizing success that your entitled millennial kid can only dream about. You are asking us the wrong questions. Ask us to solve the impossible. Ask us to approach high-level problems that you don’t think have a solution. We will strip it of the labels you’ve given it—and we’ll probably Google some stuff along the way. You think that we are Googling stuff because…


3)      You Think We’re Lazy – We’re not lazy, we’re bored. We simply aren’t being challenged. You’ve given us the tools of a new generation but again I go back to: you’re still asking the wrong questions. You are asking questions that are light years behind schedule. You are giving us tasks that you estimate will take 2 days but it takes us half a day. Challenge us! Don’t be afraid of giving us too much to do. We thrive off of it. You are hesitant to challenge us because…


4)      You Think We’re Naïve – Brands are what will employ your children. All brands use social media as a function of marketing. It has become a digital revolution of communication. In Jason Nazar’s article1, “20 Things 20-year-olds Don’t Get,” he “strongly caution[s] against pegging your career trajectory solely to a social media job title.” This is very true. I would also caution against this. You know what else I would caution against? Pegging a career trajectory solely to any job title at all. Whether or not you take social media seriously, there are a ton of job titles that won’t exist in 5 years. I would advise my fellow millennials to focus on what your overarching career goals are, with a laser focus on what interests you. Job titles mean nothing. Do you want to lead people? Do you want to teach people? Do you want to solve a major world problem? Find a way to get the day-to-day done while focusing on the high-level goals and the job titles will come to you.


PS) You Also Think We Hate Reading – Quite the contrary. We love to read. What we don’t like is wasting time. We don’t like being given too much information, especially because more often than not it is extremely repetitive. That is why we gravitate towards the types of communication with as few words as possible—but you have to understand what we are doing on Twitter. About 25% of Tweets contain a link, usually to an article2. Why are you so set on believing that we don’t click on the articles or read them? Twitter is just an insanely more efficient way of reading the newspaper. It’s a newspaper filled with content you can curate and customize to your interests. 

I have recently been fascinated by the culture of the internet, cable TV, millennials, and how different generations consume media. I have been soaking up every article I see about the millennial generation, talking to my peers, talking to those a few years older than myself, and people many years older than myself. I have come to learn 3 things I’d like to share, in 3 separate posts.

1) How Different Generations Talk about Media

2) How Different Generations Consume Media

3) Multi-Screen Consumption of Media


#1 The Meaning of the Term “Cable”

I recently decided that before my 1-year “deal” from Comcast goes into it’s second year and I start getting charged out the you-know-what for my Cable TV and Internet, that I would cut the Cable TV because, let’s face it, I rarely watch it. I spend most of my time on the internet, watching Netflix, Hulu, or just browsing the web. As I was discussing this with my dad (a baby boomer) he said “Well how will you get Internet access if you get rid of Cable?”

…What? What is he talking about? “I’m not getting rid of the Internet–just cable”

His response “but cable is the internet!”

…What? No it’s not. Fool.

Millennials have grown up in a world where you flip open your laptop and connect to the strongest Wifi signal. We don’t use a hard-wire, we don’t even really think about what it takes for the router to be plugged into a cable connection to give us the magic of Wifi. It’s just there, and we love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I remember the days when you had to hang up the phone to get online, the days where my computer was enormous and only had 3MB of storage on the hard-drive. But once something becomes convenient, there’s no turning back. My dad recalled a story in which my sister (an engineer) was moving into a new condo and, her first day there, opened up her laptop and wondered “Which network do I connect to?”

Dad’s response: “Did you buy Internet?”


Believe me, ask any millennial, “What is cable?”

Not a single one will give you an answer that has to do with the internet. They will all say “Cable is TV. It gives you channels like ESPN and Nickelodeon.” We don’t think about the technical aspects of it anymore because it’s just always there for us.

What do you think of when you hear the term “cable”? And what generation are you from?


I can finally talk about it! The agency I work for, Definition 6, has acquired Synaptic Digital. I could provide my own commentary, but there’s plenty of reading material on our blog!


11 years ago I was in the sixth grade. My homeroom teacher was the school Spanish teacher, but I chose to take French so I only saw her in homeroom, which in the sixth grade was at the beginning of the day, before and after lunch, and at the end of the day. The private school I attended housed toddlers all the way up to eighth graders, and the administration had specifically instructed the teachers not to tell any of the students about what had happened. Some of us were very young, and perhaps they thought it best if our parents explained it to us. Besides, we were kids stuck at school. How else were we going to find out? It’s not as though we had internet phones, Twitter, or some other secret underground child news network. 

Well, my homeroom teacher knew all of us 11 and 12 year olds well, and she felt we had a right to know what was going on (especially given that many students’ parents were coming and picking up their children from school–we were already confused and suspicious). We were seated in homeroom, hungry bellies ready for lunch, and she told us to push all of the desks against the wall and sit in the front of the room. When we sat in perfect formation, facing the front of the room like we would formally face a teacher, she shook her head and told us to gather in closer to each other–that’s when the room got eerily quiet. We all knew something was wrong. I remember her words exactly…mostly because of how much they confused me. “This morning, two jumbo jet planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.” 

I had never been to New York City. I didn’t know what the World Trade Center was or how many people it housed. I had flown a commercial airline once in my life from Atlanta to Miami, and I didn’t know that they were called ‘Jumbo Jets.’ So, after hearing this sentence, I looked at my classmates and saw by the looks on their faces that they clearly understood more about the world than I did. I imagined the World Trade Center to be this big, open, flea-market esque place where people actually traded goods, and two big planes just falling onto them in some kind of horrible accident. 

We hadn’t said much yet, so my teacher asked us if we had any questions. Once we all understood that it wasn’t an accident, we began to better understand the gravity of the situation. All kinds of things were racing through our minds. …World War 3!?….Bombs?!….Would these terrible people consider attacking an elementary school in Atlanta?!….Who knows?!….My teacher assured us that we’d be fine, but that we may see our friends’ parents coming to take them from school for the day, and all of the after school sports would most likely be cancelled. [I remember hearing them announce all of the sports cancellations over the PA later that afternoon, blaming “inclement weather”…]

So off we went to lunch. Dead silent. We were standing in the cafeteria line, looking at all of the happy-go-lucky kids who didn’t know yet. My friend turned to me and said, “Look at them. So innocent. They don’t know that we’re under attack.” Her words snapped everything into perspective for me for the first time. We were under attack. My country was under attack.

Some people may question the ethical validity of my homeroom teacher’s actions–but when I got home later that night I knew she did the right thing. Because after I left school I was surrounded by people who were acting like nothing was happening. I was part of a tennis league separate from the school and I still had to play a match that afternoon. I was shocked at the denial around me because I knew it was serious. 

So how would this incident have been different if it occured in 2012 instead? You can’t hide a huge newsbreak from a kid with an internet phone. Twitter or Google News would most likely be the first place people would’ve heard about the tragedy. Major news sites might have stronger capabilities to beef up their servers [I went online that night in 2001 to try to read more about what happened, but every major news site was basically not working there was so much traffic]. 

We all know that’s true. But think about how a child (and yes I mean even 11 or 12) might view news like this if they read it first on Twitter. Sure, they’d know it’s serious, but it will always be something that they ‘read on Twitter.’ It strips away the heaviness of the situation right down to the bare bones…the facts only. By the time most news coverage in 2001 had scrambled together, most of it had a reaction coating the facts. It was a news story, not a news statement. I guess my point is, this real-time news on Twitter, fast-paced world we live in now might not have given this situation the gravity it deserved. Hearing my homeroom teacher practically whisper it to us in a small community circle may have just been exactly how we were supposed to hear this news. 


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