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    Appealing to Millenials

    I recently attended a college graduation for my cousin, Maria.  Technically, she graduated last December and promptly moved to Los Angeles, but her parents made her return home for the commencement ceremony noting that they didn’t pay a significant amount of money for her not to walk across the stage and receive her diploma.  As I was watching the millennials strut about town with tassels around their necks, I was happy that at least for a day they didn’t seem to care about the student loans they will have to pay off, or the job that they might still be looking for, or that they might have to return home to live with their parents.  My cousin and her friends actually spent most of that day texting, tweeting and posting pictures to Instagram and Snapchat.

    Results from a recent Pew Research Center study noting that most millennials (61 percent) receive their political news from Facebook, was not surprising.  Only 37 percent reported getting their political news through local television. This is further proof that social media may be the most effective way to reach this generation. About a quarter of the millennials using Facebook said at least half of the posts they see pertain to government and politics.  They were also less familiar with a number of political news outlets, but no less trusting of those media outlets than other generations.

    While millennials may be exposed to political news in a less traditional manner, they are reportedly more frequently exposed to views that do not align with their own points of view.  Only 18 percent of those surveyed noted that the majority of the posts they see support their own opinions.  This is despite the fact that Millennials express less interest in political news. Roughly a quarter of millennials (26 percent) select politics and government as one of the three topics they are most interested in (out of a list of nine). Nearly half of baby boomers (49 percent) and Generation X (40 percent) reported that they talk about politics at least a few times a week, while only a third of millennials (35 percent) do so.

    This generation of college graduates is one of the most studied to date, and they probably aren’t as different as generations prior with the exception of the great advances in technology.  The study made me consider the ways in which I receive my news, how much of it is filtered or customized to meet my interests, and how, as a government relations professional, I can speak about the issues affecting Goodwill® and the people we serve in a manner that resonates with this generation, while keeping their attention on these new platforms.

    As a millenial, do you agree with what the studies say? How do you receive your news? We welcome your comments below!

    Laura Walling
    Senior Director of Government Affairs
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