The Internet is a dangerous place. When Millennials go online, they risk running into cyberbullies, thieves after their identities, trolls lurking in the comments sections of webpages… Even on social media sites, where they’re surrounded by their “friends,” they can occasionally feel harassed. And for all the social aspects of being online, the web can be a little narcissistic. Some people only seem interested in tweeting about what they’re doing and only want to hear opinions in line with their own.
With so much negativity online, it was only a matter of time before Millennials got fed up and found a more positive space to spend their time. They’re not abandoning their usual online haunts, but when they get tired of the “me-centric” webiverse, they take a timeout to get a little dose of happy.
Pinterest, for all its other possibilities, also is a place where people can interact on a social level without the fear of flaming. They’re coming together around a shared interest — rather than self interest — so there’s little to criticize or make fun of. As one of our Youth Advisory Board members explained to us recently, “My friend tells me she surfs Pinterest when she’s bored of Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and seeking salvation from the self-involved.” Millennials know when they’ve had enough negativity and need a break.
The desire for positivity extends beyond social media. Hello Giggles was designed as a destination for young women who are tired of the typical sort of snarky girly sites. Its aim is to provide positive ideas and inspiration, and its no-gossip rule reminds readers to be respectful of the community. For its fans, it’s a place where they can just be themselves.
Then there are sites with the express goal of delivering a daily dose of good news. Positively positive is earning a following for just that. From inspirational quotes to stories of survival to advice for happy relationships, there’s not a negative word spoken on the site. As the site’s more than 1.5 million Facebook fans might say, what’s not to “like” about a little positivity in one’s newsfeed.
That these sites are rapidly growing, not only in audience but also in number, is proof that Millennials are looking for a different online experience. They want a reprieve from the challenges and difficulties of their day-to-day lives in which they are constantly reminded that the economy stinks, their job prospects are dismal, and their futures are uncertain. For marketers, it’s time to represent the new Millennial mindset. Instead of ads that poke fun, give them ads that inspire. Instead of pointing out shortcomings, prove that anything is possible … with a little positivity.