Introducing yet another feature here at Verge Pipe Media: Pop Culture Fridays. Look, we know it has been a long week. Always is. So, why not end with a little levity?! We'll be taking random swipes at pop culture, writing at the intersection of ___[this week's feature]___ and mobile technology / emerging media / enterprise / Millennials.
There's an epidemic sweeping America. People are moving in zombie-like herds, blindly weaving through the streets while looking down at their phones. Scientists are stumped. Onlookers can only gawk. Even experts are confounded when faced with the task of figuring it out.
The only people fully capable of providing a cheat sheet to the nuances of the millennial generation are the millennials themselves. And that's just what Lena Dunham has set out to do with her HBO series, Girls.
In the first episode, the main character Hannah (played by creator, writer, and director Lena Dunham) tells her parents, "I think I could be the voice of this generation. Or, at least, a voice. Of a generation." Girls is the first show to offer a crash course on the mindset of millennials.
The show follows four female twenty-somethings in the no-man's land we've come to know as 'postgrad.' It captures how technology has become an extension of themselves, so natural that they hardly recognize the difference between the real world and the virtual. In the first fifteen minutes of HBO's Girls, one of the main characters explains the "totem of chat" to her friend:
"The lowest, that would be Facebook, followed by G-chat, then texting, then email then phone. Face-to-face is of course ideal, but is not of this time," she explains.
Girls is witty and honest about life for millennials in a way that other sitcoms haven't yet figured out (how realistic can a show get when it has a laugh track?). It sheds light on the issues confronting my technology-addicted, socially-driven generation. Major plot points and resolutions revolve around texts and tweets that Hannah carefully crafts for her 26 followers — a feeling that's a little bit too familiar.
Girls shows how our constant sharing and unlimited access to the world shapes our behavior, and it provides a little insight into the minds of millennials.
First, it reminds us that going mobile is not an option. For millennials, being constantly connected is not a choice - it's just the way things are. If you're not within arm's length (literally or by mobile extension), you might as well be a million miles away. Our ability to connect has driven us towards a reluctance to commit. The constant influx of information we have access to keeps us from committing to brands or boyfriends. There is always another option out there.
Dunham’s Girls shows how consumerism is being redefined.
The girls live in a state of ‘privileged poverty.’ Hannah lightheartedly quips, “I am unfit for any and all paying jobs.” She is over-educated and chronically unemployed, but she and her friends expect to enjoy the same quality of life even on a restricted budget.
They are embracing a new mindset, one that doesn't line up with traditional marketing notions of "if we build it (and it's cool), they will come". Branding pizzazz is just not enough anymore. Girls offers a quick tip on catering to the millennial generation: brands need to seem both immediately accessible and necessary to catch our attention.
Lane Jones is our Fall Editor & Word-Smith here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world.