Haters Gonna Hate: Why the World Hates Millennials

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One of my college professors told my class that he started each morning by watching one Ted talk.  Since here in Chattanooga, our summer is a little more relaxed then during the season, I’m taking up his advice and starting each day with a TED talk*.

One of the first I watched, mainly because I was drawn to the name, was Scott Hess’s presentation at the 2011 TEDxSF called “Millennials: Who They Are and Why We Hate Them.”  As a millennial, I’m particularly drawn to presentations and lectures about me, which I’ve discovered through these lectures and presentations is a generational trait; millennials like to hear about themselves.

Hess is the Vice President of Tru, a company focusing on research and data analysis of tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings.  Hess, himself, is part of Gen X (born 1960-1980) but is uniquely posed to compare the two generations.  He talks about the various hurdles of adulthood that only 10% of 20-somethings hit before age 30 (compared to 70% in 1960); the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that manifests differently in the two generations; and deconstructs Millenials favorite brand, Apple, for insights into millennials themselves.

Take-aways for arts organizations

  • If you’re courting millennials, hoping to get their butts in the seats, then you do need to pay heed to some of the generational traits.  Millennials have different buying habits than those of Gen X, but are willing to pay up if they see a social value in the experience.
  • Since they’re emerging adults and may not have hit all the adulthood milestones, their priorities and tastes will shift and change as they age; can yours shift and change as well?
  • Millennials want to share their experience and document their presence; self-curation is very important. What opportunities can you provide at your events to allow that self-curation with your organization’s presence?
  • If you were to deconstruct your organization’s brand, what traits would you find?  Are they in common with millennial traits?
*Ted talks are short presentations (less than 18 minutes) that focus on one idea.  They’ve been presented by thousands of speakers on topics from ‘activism’ to ‘youth’ and everything in between.  Originally, the talks were presented at a conference combining experts from Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) in 1984; since then independent TEDx talks have been presented across the country and around the world.

About Sarah Marczynski

Sarah joined the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera in 2010 working with the Marketing and Development staffs and quickly became interested in community engagement and education. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration focusing in Nonprofit Arts Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where her capstone and other work under Dr. Christopher Horne examined attendance patterns in high-art cultural institutions and network relationships between local arts agencies and cultural partners. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Vocal Music Education from UTC, where she studied under Dr. Kevin Ford and Ron Ulen.

Sarah has been active in the Chattanooga arts community, serving as the founding chair of the Chattanooga Young Artistic Network (CYAN), graduating from the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute, and working with the Chattanooga Boys Choir, the Choral Arts Society, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Chattanooga Bach Choir.

Outside of the arts world, Sarah pretends to be an excellent cook (but she's broken 2 ovens), reads Jane Austen novels, and watches way too much House of Cards.

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