What the Dark Side of Technology means to your Millennial Clients

millennialsThe Millennial Generation has been called a lot of things. Entitled, self-centered and overly reliant on technology are three personality traits that immediately come to mind when thinking about how Millennials have been characterized in the media. However, what many people miss when they report on the Millennial Generation is that they are actually more social-justice oriented than previous generations, and that they are quick to see a “dark side of technology” in their everyday lives. This viewpoint is something that you can utilize when engaging your Millennial clients and employees.

The Dark Side of Tech

Far from being all sunshine and roses all the time, the Millennial Generation – the first generation to truly grow up surrounded by technology – is quick to identify some of the darker byproducts of the world’s rampant dependence on tech things. Most notably, 62% of Millennials believe that technology has had a hand in widening the gap between rich and poor.

Frederic Michel, the man who performed the survey that gave us this figure, told NBCNews: “[Millennials] basically are very, very aware of how technology can help them improve their career path. And at the same time, they are also conscious that technology can’t solve everything.” For a long time we believed that the best way to attract a millennial audience was to inundate them with Facebook posts, tweets and other social media contact. Perhaps you should also explore new ways to communicate with them on a human level.

What This Means for You

Clearly, you know that you need to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape in order to truly engage the Millennial Generation, both your clients and your employees. If you’re on top of things, you have probably already spent hundreds of hours developing content that looks just as great on a tablet or smartphone as it does on a computer, and tailored your advertising to a generation that grew up in the age of technology, terrorism and economic uncertainty.

This survey, however, shows that you need to be doing more to work with Millennials on their terms. They are keenly aware that technology has a downside and you need to compensate for that when engaging them. Perhaps you can ramp up your philanthropic efforts, especially where social justice issues are concerned. Showing your Millennial clients that you are cognizant of the so-called “darker side of technology” will go a long way towards earning their trust. And, as we all know, earning your clients’ trust is key to creating and maintaining a long-term business relationship.

Even though the Millennial generation grew up surrounded by technology and use it daily to advance their careers and social lives, they are also a very social justice-oriented subset of the population. To earn their trust as a business owner, you need to show them that you recognize their interest in these issues and that you are willing to engage with them over these issues. In order to be truly successful at this endeavor, however, you are going to have to show them that you can engage with them without seeming inauthentic. Millennials can tell when people are pandering to them.

How do you engage with your Millennial clients or employees? Have you considered the “dark side” of technology in your past efforts?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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