If you were born between 1980-1995 you’re a Millennial, you and 75 million just like you.
If you’re a millennial you grew up with a computer and internet connection in your home, you witnessed the largest economic decline since the great depression, you watched the 911 Terrorist attacks live, you feel directly or indirectly the effects of 20 plus years of offshoring of American and the Enron energy trading scams and corporate fraud become a national event costing shareholders 63 billion dollars. Climate change has become obvious with unusually more severe storms, hotter weather, colder weather and more and even longer droughts. President G. W. Bush, Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney deceived the entire nation about weapons of mass destruction and the subsequent invasion and occupation of Iraq. A revolution in the way we work, including widespread acceptance of flextime, work from home, freelancing.
Political scandals are about as old as politics itself, from ethics impropriety to financial misconduct, to even the occasional sex scandal. Politicians who get caught up in it usually lose their jobs or even go to prison.
Trust in politicians is at a tipping point. Between 1776 and 1990 there were 27 sex scandals that plagued politicians, and between 1990 and 2017 there were 41.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is a Republican that resigned on April 10th 2017 Bentley misused state resources in order to cover up an extramarital affair. Attorney General and Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years. Trey Radel, the Florida Republican congressman was arrested for buying cocaine from an undercover officer in 2014. Michael Grimm the Republican congressman from Staten Island, Grimm was ultimately sentenced to eight months in prison for tax evasion. Democrat Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted on charges of corruption in 2008 after his attempts to accept bribes to fill a vacant Senate seat. In 2011, Anthony Weiner, the Democratic congressman from New York resigned after lewd photos of him appeared on his Twitter account. He quickly blamed a hacker. Weiner’s political comeback was cut short when it was revealed that he continued sexting other women. The impact on the 2016 presidential race is unknown, but his involvement and his then marriage to Huma Abedin (Abedin filed for divorce moments after Weiner pled guilty to Federal Obscenity Laws.
The current political climate is more black and white than red and blue. We’re divided as a country and divided as people. The impact millennials had on the presidential election may not be felt for decades to come, but the influence of scandal after scandal leaves them apolitical. With a voting block of 80 million and only 36 million voting, we need to ask ourselves why and do everything possible to energize this group about politics.
Are the three presidential candidates in 2016 more relatable as parents than they as forward thinking leaders? The average age of the three is 71 (Sanders 75, Trump 70 and Clinton 69). The Pew Research Center has documented the wide variety of ways in which Americans use social media to seek out information and interact with others. (http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/). Facebook users are more likely to be younger adults 82% compared to 67% of older Americans. The under 50-year-old Instagram users are four times that of older Americans, and the under 29 demographic uses Instagram 59% compared to 13% of older Americans. Similarity, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest see a two to one ratio between younger users have over older Americas. In one category, messaging apps are being used by 56% of Americans under the age of 29, compare that to older Americans using a messaging app is only 19%. The differences between older Americans (50+) and younger Americans (under 30) and their social media data exposes just one of the issues contributing to the political chasms.
In a USA Today poll from January/2016 the concerns of millennials, 82% approve of background checks for all gun purchases. 80% want clean renewable energy by 2030. 76% of them want body cameras on all police agencies personnel. 68% want reduced prison sentences for non-violent crimes, and 53% want to accept refugees from conflicts from areas such as Syria.
In addition to the concerns listed above, the millennial generation will be the most educated generation of all time. The previous generations, Silent, Baby Boom and Gen Xers went from 16% to 32% holding bachelor degrees, and 40% of millennials have bachelor’s degrees.
Millennials send emails, tweets, snapchats, intsagrams and likely others beyond my purview every minute of every day. Today, nearly 8 of 10 adults between the ages of 18 and 49 use social media. Millenials are less likely to be affiliated religiously, they tend to be less traditional or orthodox. 73% feel the economy favors the wealthy, 6 in10 favor allowing gay marriage, compare that to 37% who are opposed. 8 in 10 are college-educated millennials support same-sex marriage. 45% identify as independent, compared to 33% as Democratic and 23% identify s Republican. 66% of Republican millennials agree that discrimination against whites has become a big problem.
Would President John Kennedy govern the same way today as he did during his presidency? There are 107 written correspondences between President John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR archived at the Office of the Historian, within the Department of State. There are no emojis, no 5 sec messages, no tweets, just written letters.
Does this speech from President Ronald Reagan have the same weight and value if it was tweeted, “We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Today’s elected officials don’t need to be coders, but they might need to understand what and how UX, breadcrumbs, engaged time, experience architecture, eye-tracking, geo-location indicators, KPIs, observational studies, usability tests, Web 2.0 and widgets impact their policies. And, they need to know how to archive and handles digital assets like emails.