Communicating with GenY

UPDATE: A GenY blogger, Josh Groth made some great comments. (His blog is Please read them in the comment section. But some stuff he pointed out is that GenY uses email for business communications and Facebook for personal use. They look stuff up on Wikipedia when they don’t understand something. And they subscribe to magazines. I would love more input from anybody else out there who is a GenY person.

Full disclosure: I am a member of Generation X.  I have been “fortunate” to meet many members of GenY and have come across some universal behavior that impact communications with this young group of people.

GenY loves to text. In fact, if you want a GenYer to respond to you, you should send a text first. Do not call and do not email.

GenY loves Facebook. Well, so do many other people, but GenY is the first generation to adopt Facebook, and it could be argued, it was designed for them.

GenY does not read printed materials as in a daily newspaper. Online baby! Yes, they read the Washington Post/NY Times/LA Times, but ONLINE only. I would venture to guess that the subscription level among this group for printed newspaper hovers near 0%.

Other things to bear in mind when communicating with a 20-something:

Frame of reference. They are not historically minded and will not get a reference to Ronald Reagan or LP records or anything that happened prior to 1990.

They tend to be conflict-averse. GenY has been brought up to get along well with others (thanks to Rodney King and other influencers). If they don’t like you (your product, your service) they won’t argue or discuss, they will IGNORE.  You probably won’t get much feedback unless you ask them nicely. Via text.

Their social mores are more fluid than previous generations. They aren’t easily shocked.

Any other tips for communicating with GenY? Please comment.

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About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


1 thought on “Communicating with GenY”

  1. Some constructive comments from a Gen Y blogger:

    -Off base with point about texting. Gen Y prefers texts or IMs when all you need is a quick answer, or need to give quick info. That’s why you’ll see them with their gmail account left open so that they can quickly hit someone up on gchat when they need something. But to say that we won’t respond to a phone call or email is faulty info. Why do you think G Yers have crazy phone bills? It’s not the texting, that’s unlimited for $10.

    -To say Gen Y isn’t historically minded is a bit of a generalization. I’d say we know our history quite well, but we are products of the 80s and 90s so we’re obviously going to have more references to those decades, just like Gen X referencing what they grew up around. However, if I don’t understand a reference, I’m just going to hop on wikipedia and look it up 😉

    -I think your point about being conflict averse is pretty spot on. While Gen y might not get up and in-your-face about a problem, they’ll blog or vlog about it instead. Still venting, but in a risk-averse way.

    Feel free to hit me up with any questions/comments!

    -Josh Groth

    -It’s true, facebook was created for Gen Y, that’s why it was first only avail to college students. However, I wouldn’t want to be communicating to my boss on FB. I also wouldn’t want my boss sending me a text. I’d want an email or call from him/her.

    -You’re dead on with Gen Y not receiving printed newspapers. Everyone I know uses google news, or has a NYT iphone app. However, Gen Y still has tons of magazine subscriptions. I wouldn’t trade my Men’s Health for the world!

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