Major social and internet differences within Millennial generation

Are Late Millennials more online safety conscious than Early Millennials?

A new survey by Hide My Ass! reveals the differences in how Millennial cohorts view online safety and general social media use.

The survey shows that Early Millennials (age 25-34) value social media more than Late Millennials (shown here as age 18-24). For instance, 35% of Earlies believe in a correlation between posting and popularity, as opposed to 26% of Lates. Also found: 37 percent of Early Millennials think what they post online is a true representation of them, while 20 percent of Late Millennials agree with that sentiment. And Earlies (38%) get more from their posts than Lates (26%).

Regarding security, Early Millennials tend to have had more trouble with viruses and malware, and more issues in tagging friends, for security reasons.

And Late Millennials will likely restrict personal information on the internet, while Early Millennials are much more apt to give the information.

There’s more in this, and it’s interesting, painting two pictures in the generation. Clearly Early Millennials think differently from Late Millennials, and I don’t think it’s accidental.

Early Millennials, as I laid out years ago in speaking engagements and writings, are the transition members of the generation. Early Millennials can remember a time before the internet, and so the transition to the internet was much more dramatic. The internet became important for them, whereas for Late Millennials, the internet was always there, and thus a simple part of life.

That subtle difference means everything. Early Millennials had to learn with the internet, and the habits they acquired in those early learning days still exist today. So they’re more apt to surf freely (and get viruses) and download illegal material (and risk security), among other things. They’re also more extroverted in social media as the first cohort for Facebook and Twitter. They signed up as themselves and were lured by the idea of building a brand. So they’re very personal on social. They’re frank. They’re emotional.

Late Millennials, meanwhile, aren’t distant as opposed to studious. Born with the internet at their fingertips, they’ve been able to learn the good and bad of the internet before it became habit. So they’re more cautious, opting to sit back and choose only options they trust. With Twitter and Facebook, especially, they take a humorous approach, at times crafting fake extensions of themselves, but knowingly. For Late Millennials, the internet is a little more like a game.

The very Late Millennials, though, who are bleeding into the early part of the next generation, are showing to be uber engaged with close friends on places like Instagram and Snapchat. And what I’ve found is while Early Millennials seem to want more and more virtual friends over social (we were raised with chat rooms), Late Millennials use social to share inside jokes and be funny with their already close real-life friends. In a sense, social simply builds on their already strong relationships. Because they trust those people.

Early Millennials and Late Millennials are different cohorts. The more we separate the better. Good work by Hide My Ass! to highlight those differences with this survey.