Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Generation G

In this case, G stands for ‘Generosity’ not ‘Greed’.

I always like reading the Trendwatching newsletter. I don’t always agree with what it says but it makes me think. The latest edition is the best statement I have seen of the idea that the recession is igniting a fundamental change in consumer desires (so far I agree).

Trendwatching then goes on to propose that this change will be about consumers demanding their suppliers ditch greed and embrace generosity – “ giving is the new taking, and sharing is the new giving.” This is the point where I start to feel slightly nauseous.

The article goes on to say
Whereas you (and we) enjoy broad statements like ‘younger generations are more prone to collaboration, sharing and giving’, some of your colleagues and/or superiors will want to see proof of this phenomenon, especially if they themselves are not (yet) part of GENERATION G. Numbers! Facts! Stats! So here are some tidbits—all related to well-known ‘generous’ sites for and by the people—that may help.
Then for some reason we get a table of users of Flickr showing, as we all know, that it is skewed towards younger users.

Come on guys, this is warp like jump of logic to equate uploading images to being ‘generous’ and ‘giving’. Are we saying that the pile of videos, images and content that sits on the web is driven by the desire to help mankind and to be ‘generous’. Were the adoring acolytes of Saint Obama being ‘generous’ uploading years of video about him to YouTube. I don’t think so.

The most important problem facing UK charities is that the young are a tight fisted bunch who give neither their time nor their money (of course I am generalising) but that is what the stats show.

In my view, once we have moved through Generation 'A' (angry) we will witness the birth of Generation 'V'. The ‘V’ standing for Value – a rejection of tat and the desire to acquire services and products with enduring value. Sure it would be nice if they are festooned with eco kitemarks but that will be secondary requirement. We will get flocks of celebrities prattling on about how the recession has changed their life and how they have seen the errors of their ways and want to be more giving people etc etc etc. That's just mood music.

Speculating what scars the recession will leave on the different generations and their sub-sectors is something we should all be doing. Trendwatching eloquently puts one view. It just happens to be one I disagree with - what do you think? Dick Stroud

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