GENERATION Y


posted on 19th of august, 2008

You know who you are, Generation Y.

An analysis of Internet and social network use tells me that a majority of you reading this were born between 1977 and 1997. You are the children of the last of the baby boomers and the most studied group of young adults anywhere because you generally have money and business wants to talk you out of it. Don’t despair if you are outside Gen Y, as all generations need to recognize the unique characteristics of this group in order to completely cover the photographic life of Gen Y.

A national news program recently profiled a young woman on the ubiquitous laptop in youthful lives. She said that she feels lost without her laptop and is never more than a few feet from it. I know the feeling but when I really realized what it meant to be in your 20’s in the 21st century was when I went to wake up a relative who had fallen asleep with her laptop running and her cell phone still to her ear. The ear buds of the iPod were on the pillow.


It’s no surprise that people in their 20’s are masters at multi-tasking. They are the first generation that has grown up not knowing a world without the Internet or cell phones or video games or on demand TV. They don’t watch the nightly news like their parents generation (in the U.S. the commercials for the nightly news are only for products that appeal to the old folks).

There are indications that Gen Y is even abandoning email for IM, Twitter type communication and blogging as their main methods of staying in touch. This carries over to their work lives where they prefer email and IM to phone calls and meetings. (No more mindless meetings! Yeah!) Young people in the business world are impatient with some aspects of traditional business behavior besides wasteful meetings. They can’t understand antiquated dress codes. I remember a couple years ago at a different company being told by the CEO that the company dress code prohibited the wearing of jeans to the office. I had to fire back that the biggest clothing investment my staff had was in their jeans some of which cost hundreds of dollars.

On one hand a sizable percentage of this age group is said to already be saving for retirement. On the other some have entered the work force with huge debts due to the high cost of college education and more of this generation are headed for higher education degrees than ever before.
© Mocker (Help)

Gen Y is said to be the most medicated of all groups as they also were the first generation to grow up with Prozac type drugs. This has lead to access and a naive but also sophisticated knowledge of legal pharmaceuticals that can have dangerous consequences if these legal drugs are mixed. The defining moments of the last 20 years such 9/11and school shootings have changed school life. Many urban schools now have metal detectors and ID cards that operate entrances. School security guards are the norm in many places. On the lighter side, the diet in the school cafeteria is healthier as lower schools attempt to do their part to reduce youthful obesity in elementary and uppe rschool kids while their older siblings demand organics.

The ethnic diversity within this generation in the U.S. has produced a profound difference in tolerance compared to many baby boomers. On average Gen Y has no problem living with or working with differing ethnicities. It is a blended generation too. It has created a need for the “world model”…a model that could be any number of nationalities. Gen Y members are themselves often the result of blended families. A large percentage of the ethnic makeup of Gen Y isn’t white.

And what does all this have to do with you, Dreamstime photographer? Read on.

Shot List:

*Still lots of room for images of young people at work or at home using or viewing or listening to multiple electronic devices all at the same time.

*Gen Y with earphone in work environment

*Forget the land line phone in your photos of Gen Y. Most rely on their mobile as their only phone.

*No matter what you are having your Gen Y models doing, ensure that there is a laptop and cell phone in the frame even at the beach…Yuk: sand in the laptop.

*Sleeping with the laptop, cell phone and ear buds or earphones

*School menu-We need images of school cafeterias. I know this is a hard one to get but it’s a valuable shot especially if you can show the food that is healthy or alternatively-not so much.

*School entrances with security cameras prominent in the image so that the video-cams stand out or metal detectors with high school age students

*School security guard

*High school and college age students going through metal detectors at school.

*Jeans and other casual dress at the office. Young people are happy to dress up for meetings and events but we need to show them around the office in jeans and casual shirts, especially the guys.

Keyword tip: The words "casual business" used in an image description or as two keywords should NOT be attached to a businessman wearing a suit and tie!

Comments (11)

Comment by Spiritof76 on August 25, 2008